Pathfinder Bestiary

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Pathfinder Bestiary
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Unleash the Beasts

Over 400 of fantasy's fiercest foes burst from the pages of this enormous 360-page compendium of the most popular and commonly encountered creatures in the world of Pathfinder! From familiar enemies like orcs, dragons, and vampires to new horrors like the nightmarish nilith and the three-headed mukradi, to suitable servants for summoners of every alignment, this must-have companion to the Pathfinder Core Rulebook is crawling with creatures to challenge characters of any level.

The Pathfinder Bestiary includes:

  • More than 400 monsters!
  • Gorgeous full-color illustrations on nearly every page!
  • Detailed monster lists sorted by level, type, and rarity to help you find the right monster for any situation!
  • Universal monster rules to simplify special attacks, defenses, and qualities like grab, swallow whole, and regeneration.
  • Guidelines for providing appropriate monstrous treasures for any occasion.
  • Detailed lore sidebars offering additional information about Pathfinder's most popular monstrous friends and foes!

ISBN: 978-1-64078-170-2

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4.70/5 (based on 12 ratings)

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A must Have.

5/5

This bestiary is a must have for every game master.

The good :
The monster have simplified stat block. Running them is easier.

The bad :
I miss the ecology section.
I miss monster templates.

The beautiful :
Art is gorgeous.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

The first bestiary for Pathfinder 2 clocks in at 362 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 3 pages of editorial/ToC, 2/3 of a page SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 352 1/3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by my patreon supporters.

First of all, regarding organization, it should be noted that the bestiary includes lists of creatures by level, and a list of creatures by type – the inclusion of these is helpful when navigating the book. Creatures traits, ranging from rarity to sizes, are included, and the book contains 3 rituals, which all deal with outsiders – abyssal and infernal pact do pretty much what you’d expect them to, and angelic messenger lets you transport to a celestial plane or the material plane, acting as a messenger. Nice here: The system’s degrees of success and failure now present the chances for narratives hardcoded in here – the angel stranded, the pact gone horribly wrong; these tried and true and oft-employed plot-devices now have a representation within the framework of the rules.

Considering that this bestiary is the first one for PF2, it warrants a couple of additional observations regarding its quality as such; the first bestiary for any given iteration of a fantasy game inheriting the general tropes of Dungeons and Dragons is usually neither something that I usually enjoy reviewing, or that warrants particular mentioning. In many ways, there is simply not that much to discuss, as the bestiary is required for a precise use of the system anyhow. And indeed, this bestiary is the first of these “first bestiaries” in quite a few editions that I actually read in detail, and not simply referenced when its use was required; partially due to my reviewer status, and partially because Pathfinder’s second edition represents a pretty significant change of the dynamics of these books in a few ways.

So, the first thing to bear in mind, is that the first bestiary needs to present a sort of lowest common denominator (and that is not meant in a disparaging manner) for fantasy gaming with the respective game; after all, the monsters in these books make up what you’d consider to be the standard, the pool that all supplements will continue to draw from. You may not be able to assume that everyone has bestiary #4, but chances are that if you’re playing a certain game, you’ll at least have the first one, right? In a way, bestiary #1 for a given system thus has a lot of “mandatory” creatures to be included. You’ll need orcs, ogres, dragons, some of the most iconic demons and devils – you get the idea. And then, still, plenty of people will have their nerdrage, because their favorite critter’s not, or no longer, included.

Heck, I know, for that’s exactly how I felt when I read the 3.0 Monster Manual back in the day. Speaking of which – you can picture my abject boredom and disappointment when I realized that I could have just left the 3.5 version of that book on the shelf and not miss much; in many ways, from a monster-perspective, Pathfinder 1, for me as a person, started becoming distinct and actually relevant when Bestiary 2+ hit shelves, when the creatures started to differentiate in both themes and focus from what we had seen before. This held particularly true after Bestiary 2, but I digress. PF 1’s first bestiary, to me, did not exactly elicit any serious excitement; I got because I was dipping my toes in PF 1, and not because I had a serious desire to get it per se; it felt like another iteration of a book I already owned twice, and while it is to this date my favorite of the three, it also continued a focus that I couldn’t help but bemoan.

I might be an odd one out in that regard, but know why I pored over my 2nd edition monster books, time and again? Why I actually read those in detail, something that, apart from the context of reviewing, I never had the desire to do for PF 1, at least not in the beginning? (That did change later, when builds became more distinct and differentiated.) The thing I was missing? It’s simple. Lore. Granted, we don’t need the same lines explaining how undead have no place in the natural order of things ten times over. More often than not, the information on habitat, ecology, etc. actually proved to be inspiring to me and made up a lot of what I considered to be exciting about reading a monster book. In direct contrast, monster manuals based on d20-systems system-immanently got rid of those components in order to fit in more statblocks – after all, the increase in rules complexity also resulted in an increased amount of space devoted to the respective statistics of the creature. Compare to that how 13th Age’s statblocks got rid of essentially all non-combat utility in favor of lore for another extreme example on the lore-to-rules ratio – in that case, competitive scenarios beyond combat were somewhat scaled down.

The bestiary for Pathfinder’s second edition is, in one way, a step away from that tendency, while still embracing it. Some creatures have multiple paragraphs of lore, while others have a single sentence, and said lore if often Golarion-specific. The layout presents the creatures in a one-column style, with a margin providing information pertaining to the creature – say, mephitis, to name one, have the information that other mephit types exist; angels have a brief note on angelic divinities and locations; it’s not much, granted, but it reintroduces some immediately gameable components that usually were relegated to lore sections back into the meat of the book. Why not more? I get it. Personally, I love getting my detailed discussions of creatures, but there also are plenty of people that want to maximize the amount of rules-relevant material, particularly in such a book. I am pretty positive that nobody is going to explain about the sheer amount of creatures included in this tome. That being said, while this space is *often* used to accommodate the lavish artworks in this tome, it also sometimes results in lost real estate, and I was somewhat puzzled to realize that the Lore skill’s use of Recall Knowledge regarding creatures was not included. Listing sample DCs and subcategories for the creatures in question would have made sense, and filled in some space; in a way, I get why – this’d have made the book look more busy than it already does. But at the same time, the skill-engine of PF2 has this use specifically hard-coded into its bones, so the lack of this aspect did strike me as odd.

Then again, there is more than the excellent artwork to comment upon in a positive manner, and that would, at least to me, be simply how elegant PF2’s statblocks are. While statblocks, including high-level statblocks, can be pretty compact, the new format allows you to add a ton of complex abilities and flavor into the monster statblocks, if you so desire. For rank and file critters, this means we get more statblocks; for more unique creatures, this means you can get complex and captivating critters with lots of special abilities.

Many people, and I confess to being among those, were afraid that PF2 would attempt to beat 5e at its own game, and that has not happened; in many ways, the two systems have gone diametrically-opposed paths, in spite of some superficial similarities, and nowhere is this more readily apparent than in the creature design and statblocks. D&D 5e presents creature stats in a very novice-friendly manner; the statblocks spell out everything in detail – when a creature has the swallow whole feature, we have a whole paragraph explaining how it works for that creature. Spellcasting behaves similarly, paying for the reduction in spell statblock complexity by relegating components of the spell’s rules to the main spell text. The creatures in Pathfinder’s second edition go a different route: Instead of spelling out everything (at the cost of how easily you can parse statblocks quickly), they establish a series of abilities that come up time and again, and then present the crucial components in a tight manner. In Pathfinder’s second edition, you have to know what swallow whole does – but when you do, you can see the glyph for one action, maximum size, the damage, and a “rupture” value that represents the damage you need to do to get out; Engulf and many other abilities work in a similar manner. So yeah, Pathfinder instead frontloads a couple of things you need to know, but makes parsing/quickly running statblocks you haven’t prepared faster.

An example, perhaps, to illustrate the difference – let’s take a look at the good ole’ Purple Worm:
“Swallow Whole (one action glyph) Huge, 3d6+9 bludgeoning, Rupture 24.”
Vs.
“[Bite attack’s damage etc….] If the target is a Large or smaller creature, it must succeed on a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw or be swallowed by the worm. A swallowed creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the worm, and it takes 21 (6d6) acid damage at the start of each of the worm’s turns. If the worm takes 30 or more damage on a single turn from a creature inside it, the worm must succeed on a DC 21 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the worm.[…]”

Which of these is better? I honestly can’t say. Both of them have distinct advantages; 5e makes it easier for novices to have all rules spelled out at one place, while Pathfinder’s second edition requires that you know how “swallow whole” works – once you do, however, you become MUCH more efficient at running the creature; you don’t have to look for the mechanically-relevant components in a paragraph of text. I’ve talked to quite a few people, and the opinions are divided pretty much in the middle. Some prefer the detail, because they don’t want to learn the “universal” monster rules; some prefer the streamlining of these, particularly since the creatures in Pathfinder 2 have taken an important lesson from the first edition to heart – there is a much higher propensity towards having unique abilities (which are, obviously, properly spelled out), which renders them feeling less mechanical. Now, as a person, I can parse PF2’s statblocks more efficiently than those of 5e, plus I prefer this style. As a reviewer, I consider both to be two distinct and valid solutions to the same issue. So yeah, as far as I’m concerned, the PF2 statblock can be considered to be a success – statblocks are divided in utility, defense and offense – easy to read and parse.

Another success is one that is perhaps more subtle and something that mainly designers will notice, namely the fact that the statblocks adhere to a consistency between stats, sizes and e.g. spells – take e.g. a look at polymorph spells and the respective creatures. Speaking of creatures and details – one component to be renamed creatures. To explain that: IP and the like have been an issue all through d20’s lifespan, and this new edition takes a lot of critters and renames them according to Paizo IP. Let’s e.g. take the Alghollthu. These are now the catch-all terms for Bulwer-Lytton-esque antediluvian critters like Aboleths and Skum, as well as Veiled Masters; essentially the “Ruins of Azlant”-y critters (still one of my favorite APs). The categorical names makes sense to me as a whole; as for the other creatures, there are a couple of renames that are just a matter of getting used to it, and in several instances, I really like them. Take the Ankhrav. If you’re familiar with Germanic languages, “graben” means “digging”; “Grav” means grave; Ankh- is a pretty well-known prefix for a classic monster, so you can determine that that’s the new Ankheg. Arboreals are obviously tree-people, taking a step away from the ole’ Tolkien-IP. “Dire animals” have now become the proper appellations (cave bear, megalodon), with the obvious exception of dire wolves, which are a real world thing. Whether that makes sense or not for you depends, but the careful reader will also notice that the elemental creatures have been changed – we get 4 more normal elementals, and one odd man out per element. This includes xorns, invisible stalkers, salamander – those are now listed among the elementals. I confess to that throwing me in for a loop for a second.

So, one big advantage I noticed here, would be that many boss monsters have obviously been designed to focus on attacks on single targets or spread out attacks to multiple targets; the new action economy means that the boss monsters no longer require the set ups for full attacks to be efficient. GMs won’t have to engage in as much trickery as in PF 1 to make bosses, particularly stand-alone boss monsters, work. Speaking of bosses and something I LOVED seeing: The book takes an often more roleplaying-focused approach to some classics: Succubi, for example, now take damage from being rejected (cue in all those demons being insulted and becoming REALLY aggressive…), and this roleplaying angle can be combat-relevant, when e.g. including such a rejection or reference to one in the Demoralize attempt. I defy, I deny thee! Heck yeah. In many ways, this focuses more on the roleplaying, and uses it to supplement the combat; rules helping with roleplaying. That’s a good tendency, as far as I’m concerned. Mechanically, I love the succubus here; the artwork is (apart from 5e’s version), the least sexy take on the demon of lust I’ve seen in a while (srsly, I see more risqué outfits whenever I go out), so that may be a plus or minus for you. No chainmail bikinis herein; no cheesecake, no beefcake – so if you’ve been hoping for a more edgy game, if you considered the big games too sanitized, that hasn’t changed.

What *has* changed is often what kind of creatures were chosen: The highest-CR critter? It’s not a pitiful version of the Tarrasque (like in 3.0, 3.5 and PF1), but Treerazer, who goes Troll II on you – he turns you partially into a plant by just being near, and he’ll do more damage/horrid wilt you – OUCH. A really cool boss build of a unique critter, who gets an awesome build, a sentient, supportive artifact, and sidebar notes on cults. Awesome. I wish more creatures had been afforded this deluxe treatment – in particular, the take on the wendigo, another one of my favorites herein, would have deserved as much. The build is complex, genuinely frightening, and oh boy, it’ll kill you off…it’s a level 17 creature that sees heat, has the signature curse properly here, the ride the wind angle…this fellow REALLY deserved the lore angle. The amazing statblock only has one line of flavor, when it obviously would have been a perfect candidate for two-page boss-treatment. (Whoever made this one did a great job!) On a plus-side, there are quite a few options where this edition does some things I *personally* enjoy – werebeasts, for example, now have different abilities regarding their respective bloodlines. Wererats have different abilities than werewolves. Finer differentiation is nice to see.

There are some things that have kinda irked the OCD guy in me: Take, for example, the attacks called “jaws” – these attacks deal piercing damage, but there is no system beyond this damage type: Sometimes, these have reach, or range, sometimes they are agile (or deadly, or with another weapon property) – there is no nomenclature that differentiates jaw attacks from e.g. fang attacks. Fang attacks also cause piercing damage, and can also have weapon properties. Personally, I’d have prefer both referring to a unique type of melee attack with certain properties, instead of being essentially interchangeable. But that may just be me. This is not necessarily a downside for the vast majority of people. More relevant for most people: There are no rules for making your own critters, or for how class levels and abilities may be added to critters. I kinda hope that the engine here will end up being a bit more complex than the one for Starfinder; as much as I love SF’s engine, it also can be easy for math-savvy players to reverse-engineer.

The conclusion of my review can be found here.


An excellent collection of monsters.

5/5

This is a bestiary for a fantasy RPG game, meaning that it's a collection of monstrous enemies and allies for players to meet, face, likely defeat and brag about later! If this passage left you confused, you might want to check what role-playing games are about elsewhere, I will proceed assuming that potential buyer knows what s/he is looking at :)

Now, looking at this book from a gamer's perspective, it's a peach. The Bestiary provides you with a barrage of opponents to fight against or to team up with, from mundane animals to devils from abyss. How many of them? Scores, few hundreds by my count. What's the variety? Enormous, as creatures from real-world myths, cryptozoology, religion as well as made-up fantasy gaming staples (oozes, for example) are all present. Unicorns, gremlins, angels and rust monsters, wights and giant worms, dark elves and vampires.

Every creature is represented by artwork (ranging from good to gorgeous), lore (ecology, society, habits) and gaming stats (attacks, defenses, etc). One very big welcome change from previous edition of the game is that lore takes up FAR more space and there's lots more interesting, catchy information on each monster. That makes including them in the game and making them part of a living world much easier.

So I've been gushing so far, are there any flip sides? Yes, one minor annoyance - some monster's statistics spread across two pages, requiring an occasional flip back and forth. I'd prefer stats to all sit on one page, but I guess that was the price for keeping the book reasonably big. I can live with that.

Excellent volume. You won't be disappointed!


An RPG Resource Review


Here is a mammoth collection of monsters, mostly familiar faces from the past, presented in a manner that is clear and makes them easy to use. The Introduction remineds you that, as the Game Master, you get to play the monsters - they are not there as mere cannon-fodder to be slain and looted, they should be an integral part of your setting, there because they live there not just for passing adventurers to kill them and steal their stuff. Use the tools herein to make them come to life, if only briefly... after all, we know adventurers. They probably will kill the monsters and take their stuff anyway!

Each creature has a stat block, which is explained in extensive detail in the Introduction. Once you understand that, you know how the monster works in terms of game mechanics. Of course there's more to them than that. You'll find information about each creature's worldview, their ecology, the sort of societies they live in and more, which will help you bring them to life... and decide if they'll run away or surrender or fight to the death if things don't go their way in combat. They might even try to bargain their way out of trouble. Going back to mechanics, there's advice on how to make any monster stronger or weaker than the 'book' version, if that's what suits your story better. Even more detail on terminology can be found in the Appendix, along with listings of creatures by type and by level, to aid in selection of the most appropriate ones for your needs.

We then dive straight in to the monster lists, which are presented alphabetically. Each has a dramatic, dynamic image - my only issue with this is that they are melded with the text, lovely eye-pleasing layout, but without a bit of fancy footwork if you have the PDF version, there's no way of holding up a picture and saying "You see this!" to your players. (If you have the PDF, choose the 'select' tool in your reader program, select the image you want, copy it, then paste it onto a blank page or into a graphics package... but be mindful of copyright - it's OKish to do that to show your players, but don't spread the images far and wide!)

There's just so much here. Flick through, by all means, to see what is listed; but then settle down and study the first few that you actually intend to use. Get to know them. Sentient or not, they mostly have at least some intelligence and with that comes aims, objectives, likes and dislikes. These may be as simple as the need to survive, the desire to mate, and other 'animal passions' - but often there's more. A rudimentary societal structure, perhaps, a common purpose with others of their kind, or different creatures in the same area. Use this to make them come alive in your game, to become memorable parts of your plot... Monsters are an integral part of your game, this book will help you place them squarely at the centre of it.


Very Happy With This Book

5/5

I think I may have gotten more quick adventure and campaign ideas from the full read-through of this bestiary than I have from any other monster book I've read in my entire 34+ years of gaming. It's got a wide variety of monsters, in type, level, and cool combat abilities. And, while some of the art is not as cool as the first edition art, other entrys' illustrations are far superior.

I'm sure that the missing entry for Weasels will be fixed in the next errata...


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Paizo Employee Creative Director

15 people marked this as a favorite.

We want to be inclusive of ALL cultures in Pathfinder—that includes monsters. We try not to fall into the category of cultural appropriation by doing research, working with diverse freelancers, and being careful to be respectful about real-world inspirations.

That can be tricky when talking about real-world inspirations for awful things, sure, but I would rather see a Pathfinder Bestiary that features monsters inspired from all over the world rather than one that only contains monsters inspired by Eurocentric fantasy traditions. It's already got that tradition VERY well represented, so having things like rakshasas, wendigos, bunyips, porachas, tengus, yetis, etc. from places far from Europe in the book is even more important. I wish we'd been able to include more of them, frankly, but that didn't pan out. Bestiary 2 will give us more chances to explore though.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Awahoon wrote:

The made-up creatures can't compare to the mythology/cryptid/folklore ones.

Well, this is quite a bold claim. I myself love some mythological critters, but DnD and Pathfinder have a lot of memorable original beings. Why do you think modern people are worse at making up monsters than ancient people were?

And overall, people of most cultures seem to be completely okay with you using their evil monsters for a game. They might not be okay with you using their gods or some sacred imagery, but evil spirits and the such? Fair game. That wendigo scandal is the first of this kind I've witnessed and let's hope it'll be the last. And that was just one person. One person can't speak for a whole nation/tribe, you know.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love the new artwork, especially nice to see male harpies.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Awahoon wrote:
The made-up creatures can't compare to the mythology/cryptid/folklore ones.

They're all made-up.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Zum-Graat wrote:
Awahoon wrote:

The made-up creatures can't compare to the mythology/cryptid/folklore ones.

Well, this is quite a bold claim. I myself love some mythological critters, but DnD and Pathfinder have a lot of memorable original beings. Why do you think modern people are worse at making up monsters than ancient people were?

And overall, people of most cultures seem to be completely okay with you using their evil monsters for a game. They might not be okay with you using their gods or some sacred imagery, but evil spirits and the such? Fair game. That wendigo scandal is the first of this kind I've witnessed and let's hope it'll be the last. And that was just one person. One person can't speak for a whole nation/tribe, you know.

Don't get me wrong, I love many made-up critters from today, but you can't replace monsters like Wendigo, Papinijuwari, Akhlut, Golems, Djinns, Ifrits, Yara-Ma-Yha-Who's and the like with modern made up monsters, I like a good mixture of those. But reading James Jacobs reply made me happy and relieved, can't wait for Bestiary 2!

Seeing Rysky favoriting that reply must mean she doesn't mind more Wendigo-like creatures being used in future Bestiaries, so that is also a nice thing to see.

For me, all monsters are made up eventually, I don't believe in spiritual things and are as atheistic as they come.
Respect for the Gods of other cultures, I can see why people respect that, I would never use or touch the Rainbow serpent for example or other good-natured spiritual monsters, but evil monsters on the other hand, those are mine to spin around as I wish, no protection codes for those, and I'm happy Pathfinder is gonna use them (with respect of course) in future products.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Awahoon wrote:

Respect for the Gods of other cultures, I can see why people respect that, I would never use or touch the Rainbow serpent for example or other good-natured spiritual monsters

This seems to be Paizo's position as well. I've been rereading Bestiary 1 recently and noticed that all Empyreal Lords listed there (in archon and azata sections) are real mythological figures, including some culture heroes like Atonga or deities from still existing religions (like some Orisha and Buddhist entities). But then you have more modern sources that list a lot of Empyreal Lords, like "Chronicles of the Righteous" and almost all of them are made-up from scratch.

I wonder if all those "real" Empyreal Lords were retconned out of existence due to the sensitivity of the subject.


Zum-Graat wrote:
Awahoon wrote:

Respect for the Gods of other cultures, I can see why people respect that, I would never use or touch the Rainbow serpent for example or other good-natured spiritual monsters

This seems to be Paizo's position as well. I've been rereading Bestiary 1 recently and noticed that all Empyreal Lords listed there (in archon and azata sections) are real mythological figures, including some culture heroes like Atonga or deities from still existing religions (like some Orisha and Buddhist entities). But then you have more modern sources that list a lot of Empyreal Lords, like "Chronicles of the Righteous" and almost all of them are made-up from scratch.

I wonder if all those "real" Empyreal Lords were retconned out of existence due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Well... I wouldn't say all of them. Cernunnos is a notable example of a real-world mythological figure - with an entry in one of the Bestiaries, too!

As for the rest... <shrug>

Paizo Employee Creative Director

12 people marked this as a favorite.

It's a bit unfair to say that mythological monsters are universally better than ones made up out of the blue for an RPG.

As pointed out above, ALL monsters are "made up," whether they're old classics like dragons or vampires, things from literature like morlocks or shoggoths, or brand new critters we invented just this year like niliths or quelaunts.

The difference there is that the monsters from literature, and even more so from mythology, have stood the test of time. They remain in our cultures BECAUSE they're so compelling and memorable and frightening. Not because the monster-creation technology was better back in the day and we've lost it, but because those monsters are ones that aren't forgotten.

There are countless other monsters made up by people as long as people have been afraid, but the vast VAST majority of these are forgotten.

It's the same thing when folks say "movies today aren't as good as they were 10 or 30 or 60 years ago. Not true. The bad ones from 10 or 30 or 60 years ago are just (rightfully) forgotten. Everyone remembers "Alien," but how many of you out there remember "Creature" or "Deep Space" or "Star Crystal?"


Well, I was pretty wrong there, while Mythology/Cryptid/Folklore monsters are my big passion, a lot of D&D/Pathfinder created monsters are among my favorites as well. Think about Behir, Destrachan, Gloomwing, Bebilith, Leukodaemon, Sangudaemon, that new Grikkitog (which btw is my favorite monster in the book, next to Redcap, Dullahan, Banshee and Wendigo)

It is just that, creatures like the Nuckelavee, Yara-Ma-Yha-Who and Papinijuwari cannot be replaced by things as Armanite, Plague Giants and whatever-is-made-up-to-replace-the Yara.

That is what I meant, but that doesn't mean new monsters cannot be awesome, just the ones that try to replace the mythology monsters are often trying too hard or don't make it close to their awesomeness at all. I don't want them replaced by others, I want them both.


Seventh Seal wrote:
Zum-Graat wrote:
Awahoon wrote:

Respect for the Gods of other cultures, I can see why people respect that, I would never use or touch the Rainbow serpent for example or other good-natured spiritual monsters

This seems to be Paizo's position as well. I've been rereading Bestiary 1 recently and noticed that all Empyreal Lords listed there (in archon and azata sections) are real mythological figures, including some culture heroes like Atonga or deities from still existing religions (like some Orisha and Buddhist entities). But then you have more modern sources that list a lot of Empyreal Lords, like "Chronicles of the Righteous" and almost all of them are made-up from scratch.

I wonder if all those "real" Empyreal Lords were retconned out of existence due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Well... I wouldn't say all of them. Cernunnos is a notable example of a real-world mythological figure - with an entry in one of the Bestiaries, too!

As for the rest... <shrug>

Cernunnos however, isn't a God people still worship. Kali and others are.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Awahoon wrote:
Seventh Seal wrote:
Zum-Graat wrote:
Awahoon wrote:

Respect for the Gods of other cultures, I can see why people respect that, I would never use or touch the Rainbow serpent for example or other good-natured spiritual monsters

This seems to be Paizo's position as well. I've been rereading Bestiary 1 recently and noticed that all Empyreal Lords listed there (in archon and azata sections) are real mythological figures, including some culture heroes like Atonga or deities from still existing religions (like some Orisha and Buddhist entities). But then you have more modern sources that list a lot of Empyreal Lords, like "Chronicles of the Righteous" and almost all of them are made-up from scratch.

I wonder if all those "real" Empyreal Lords were retconned out of existence due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Well... I wouldn't say all of them. Cernunnos is a notable example of a real-world mythological figure - with an entry in one of the Bestiaries, too!

As for the rest... <shrug>

Cernunnos however, isn't a God people still worship. Kali and others are.

...

<sigh>

There really are people that still DO worship him as a deity-figure in their belief system -- and sincerely at that!
(I know a few personally, and they're part of a much more widespread group than you may realise.)

Just because the worship of Cernunnos (or that of other deities) is neither as "organised" nor as prominent as those of the Abrahamic religions, the main Eastern spiritual philosophies, and the complex & variable faiths of the Indian subcontinent (not to mention the more animist beliefs of various cultures that continue to retain much of their ancient traditions) does not invalidate it.

. . . . .

Also, by your logic (that Cernunnos "isn't a god people still worship" --> it's fine to include him as a Bestiary entry), there is no reason for Paizo to move away from the real-world mythological figures as empyreal lords since they're in the same 'category' as Cernunnos, i.e. "aren't gods people still worship" (which isn't necessarily true!).

. . . . .

Now, to be clear, while your statement may not be seen by some as particularly sensitive to the beliefs of others, I don't believe you meant any harm by it.
(My mention of Cernunnos being used as an Empyreal Lord in Pathfinder was not meant as a reproach, but I apologise if it was seen in that way.)
However, as religion & the belief (or lack thereof) in deity is a sensitive topic for many people, perhaps we should leave this line of discussion here?
Although, if you really want to put in a last word on it, go ahead. I think I'll bow out.

. . . . .

Back on topic:
I really love the care to detail on the wings of the sphinx!
Are there any pieces of art in the Bestiary that you feel are really well-done (even if they aren't necessarily what you may've envisioned for the particular creature)?


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Why...are people freaking out about the Wendigo?

I don’t follow this sudden rise of...whatever this is


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Can I just say that, as a biologist, I'm happy that fungi are finally separated from plants? Yayyy. It bothered me for so long. I mean, it makes total sense for the folk of Golarion to consider fungi plants (our world botanists considered them plants until as recently as the 60s), but Bestiaries seem to be written from an out-of-universe perspective rather than in-universe.
Also glad to see Monstrous Humanoid category gone, never made much sense to me. Not so sure about getting rid of the "Outsider" type. Celestial, Fiend, Monitor and Elemental are neat types, but "Astral" and "Ethereal" as separate categories? Ehh... Also, why wendigo is a beast??? It was a native outsider previously, would make sense to make it a fiend. Or at least aberration or maybe undead. Meanwhile, reefclaws and rust monsters are aberrations instead of beasts despite being just weird, but natural fauna? Ahhh, it's so confusing.
Other than that... Interesting to see some new outsider languages. Never made much sense to me that the entire Great Beyond speak only Celestial, Infernal, and Abyssal. Although their names could use some work. I mean, we have cool names like Requian for psychopomp language, but daemons speak... daemonic? Really? Not "Apocalyptic" or "Oblivion" or "Doom Speach"? Come on... Also, I'd rather rename daemons completely, but this is just wishful thinking at this point.
And my biggest complain - no sahkils! Gimme sahkils! I miss my twisted nightmare friends so much!


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Zum-Graat wrote:
Meanwhile, reefclaws and rust monsters are aberrations instead of beasts despite being just weird, but natural fauna? Ahhh, it's so confusing.

Reefclaws are the result of fleshwarping, so it makes complete sense to classify them as aberrations.


I also wished Mimic, Doppelganger (instead of Faceless Stalker), Cloaker and Chuul joined the Aboleth group.

Roc joined the Eagle Group.

After seeing Gancanagh in the book, I hoped Karkadann joined the Unicorn group, but alas.

I do hope Cherufe, Mudlord and some others aren't going inside the Mud Elemental and Magma Elemental group in Bestiary 2, but are their own thing.

IF they do add them to these groups, I hope THEY get the artwork, and they not end up like Salamander without artwork.

I like the sahkils, but I understand they are missing out from Bestiary 1, they are probably in 2. I hope Div come back too, the group with the most Mythological Monsters in it. Druj Nasu, Bushyasta, Aghash and Ghawwas were awesome!

Manasaputra on the other hand, I hope they never return, or at least only in Adventure Paths, I was never a fan of those. Also I'm happy there aren't templates in this Bestiaries, I hope they get their own book. Same with Troops.

I also don't understand why Wendigo is a beast now, but I don't really mind it, I would have made it a fiend or Fey.

And yes, why I don't perse like the new fungus in the book, I do love they got their own group, I would have gone with some simpler variants though, and smaller ones, instead of the enormous ones we got.


HTD wrote:
Reefclaws are the result of fleshwarping, so it makes complete sense to classify them as aberrations.

Oh, I didn't know this, the description in Bestiary just makes them sound like slightly intelligent eel-lobsters. I stand corrected then. Were rust monsters artificially created too?

Awahoon wrote:
Manasaputra on the other hand, I hope they never return, or at least only in Adventure Paths, I was never a fan of those.

Boooo, manasaputras are my favorite good outsiders (I wonder if they are considered Celestials now or their own separate thing). They are very cool Hindu-based beings, although I suspect they are inspired more by "The Secret Doctrine" and theosophy rather than directly by Puranas.

I like divs too, but in all honesty, they feel so unnecessary. Sahkils have their unique schtick of being manifestations of fears and inhabiting Ethereal Plane, while divs are another evil race from Abaddon which already has daemons, they do not seem to represent any particular theme aside from being corrupted and mean, and their goals are, well... not exactly original.

Dark Archive

VerBeeker wrote:

Why...are people freaking out about the Wendigo?

I don’t follow this sudden rise of...whatever this is

From what I remember hearing about year or half year ago, some native americans consider it offensive how american pop culture has taken wendigo which is part of their religion and made it entertainment. Especially since most portrayals of it aren't even accurate so its kinda like taking names of something with importance and sticking it to horror movie monster which makes it extra insulting to them.

Its actually been a thing some people have been angry about for very long time, but you never hear it talked about because Native Americans have little voice in pop culture and american media in first place :P I myself heard about it through a forum thread discussing cultural appropriation, I don't know much about topic in specific though so I don't know how widespread the anger about this is among different native american cultures.

(do note that it is different from renaming random monster "Satan" :p Mainly in that in majority of places, Christianity isn't small marginalized religion persecuted by the majority. So Christian elements being used in pop culture in manner that faithful might consider insulting isn't same as doing it to a minority beliefs. Well I suppose there is also difference between Christian writing something like Paradise Lost and non Christian doing so, I think lot of Japanese media's portrayal of using Christianity's motifs for demon worshipers comes across as skeevy when you realize that Christians are actually historically persecuted minority over there :P Like Western Christians might not mind Shin Megami Tensei series that much even if its basically heretical to portray YHHV as evil, but I'm sure Japanese Christians might find it more depressing.)


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Honestly, I could pick a couple of examples of how Paizo butchered my native folklore (Russian). The most glaring is polevik - its name literally means "of the field" and it's a creature closely associated with open landscapes and sunlight. But in Pathfinder it's an underground mushroom man? Ehm... You are free to use our folklore as much as you wish, but why choose the name that has absolutely nothing to do with the creature?
Overall I think it's quite petty to expect 100% or even 50% mythological accuracy from a fantasy game. But then again, Russian folklore is not persecuted or oppressed (even if is barely known in the West), so maybe it's a more principal topic for striving minorities.


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Zum-Graat wrote:

Honestly, I could pick a couple of examples of how Paizo butchered my native folklore (Russian). The most glaring is polevik - its name literally means "of the field" and it's a creature closely associated with open landscapes and sunlight. But in Pathfinder it's an underground mushroom man? Ehm... You are free to use our folklore as much as you wish, but why choose the name that has absolutely nothing to do with the creature?

Overall I think it's quite petty to expect 100% or even 50% mythological accuracy from a fantasy game. But then again, Russian folklore is not persecuted or oppressed (even if is barely known in the West), so maybe it's a more principal topic for striving minorities.

Lol, I always wondered why the Polevik was turned into a mushroom man, while the Spanish Trenti would make much more sense for that role.

The most abominable creature in Pathfinder based on mythology though, is the Isitoq in my eyes, nothing like the real myth. Also, I never liked the Kongamato in Pathfinder for some reason, same with the Ankou.

The Pathfinder Ankou could be called the Gaueko, suits it much better.

Dark Archive

Well either way, if you don't understand what the issue is, I don't think I'm able to convince you :P

On sidenote, why is Saxra renamed Skulltaker in this bestiary? First google result for Saxra is pathfinder 1e one so I'm bit confused if its trademark thing or if Saxra is from obscure folklore you can't find easily with google?


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CorvusMask wrote:


On sidenote, why is Saxra renamed Skulltaker in this bestiary? First google result for Saxra is pathfinder 1e one so I'm bit confused if its trademark thing or if Saxra is from obscure folklore you can't find easily with google?

That is because the Saxra is more widely known as the Machukuna, and no, I don't think they are protected YET. lol.


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James Jacobs wrote:

We want to be inclusive of ALL cultures in Pathfinder—that includes monsters. We try not to fall into the category of cultural appropriation by doing research, working with diverse freelancers, and being careful to be respectful about real-world inspirations.

That can be tricky when talking about real-world inspirations for awful things, sure, but I would rather see a Pathfinder Bestiary that features monsters inspired from all over the world rather than one that only contains monsters inspired by Eurocentric fantasy traditions. It's already got that tradition VERY well represented, so having things like rakshasas, wendigos, bunyips, porachas, tengus, yetis, etc. from places far from Europe in the book is even more important. I wish we'd been able to include more of them, frankly, but that didn't pan out. Bestiary 2 will give us more chances to explore though.

Please, include more brazillian folklore creatures, you guys did an amazing job with encantado and mapinguari in the 1th edition. I would love to see the headless mule, anhangá, boitatá and many others represented in Pathfinder. Thanks, and sorry for my english.

Dark Archive

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VerBeeker wrote:
The art is so good.

Gotta disagree on the hobgoblin artwork. Let's take a people that has a long and well established in game lore of being fearsome, disciplined, and militaristic and remove their shoes/boots. Really? FFS, can we have hobgoblin art in a bestiary where they aren't six feet tall with five feet long arms or gray goblins after a session on the rack?

Terrible. Just terrible.


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They literally are just elongated and altered Goblins.


I never understood the need for hobgoblins when you already have the war-like orcs in there...


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Orcs are barbarians hordes, Hobgoblins are tyrannical legions. They fight in very different fashions, and if Ironfang Invasion has taught us anything Hobs are much more successful when it comes to prolonged focused campaigns.


I can't deny that the art for the hobgoblins is among my least favorite ones, especially since their illustrations in the Monster Codex and the Ironfang Invasion AP. I have nothing against their new head shape or their elongated arms - they are actually more fearsome in this way - but they do feel as smaller than they have always been.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Does the Arbiter Electrical Burst need a radius? I'd assume 5' because it's CR 1, but using it does disable the Arbiter.


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

I love the new Hobgoblins!


Is somebody new working on individual monster fluff? Many of them are among the best and most interesting (maybe THE best) I've ever read from any product or system.

Silver Crusade

No one new per say is working on the flavor to my knowledge, but they do have more room to write the flavor than in previous bestiaries, and also bring things more in line with Golarion rather than building off DnD or world neutral versions.

Dark Archive

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I am very excited for the "Bestiary Battle Cards", a monster deck of 408 cards (picture on one side, stats on the other) which are scheduled for a december 2019 release.

I have been asking for such a product for years, only to see such candy made for D&D 5e.

This will make preparing to GM much easier!


Marco Massoudi wrote:
I am very excited for the "Bestiary Battle Cards", a monster deck of 408 cards (picture on one side, stats on the other) which are scheduled for a december 2019 release.

Seconded! Really hoping they have the flavor/fluff on there as well - that would make int'l shipping the physical product worth it to me.

Silver Crusade

From what I've seen you have the art on one side and then the statblock on the other.

No room for flavor :(

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Guang wrote:
Is somebody new working on individual monster fluff? Many of them are among the best and most interesting (maybe THE best) I've ever read from any product or system.

If you're talking about the sidebar information in the Bestiary, the majority of those were written by Patrick, Daigle, and myself (we also split the task of doing a flavor/initial rules development pass on the whole book), but some of them were written by others.

Glad you like them though!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Guang wrote:
Marco Massoudi wrote:
I am very excited for the "Bestiary Battle Cards", a monster deck of 408 cards (picture on one side, stats on the other) which are scheduled for a december 2019 release.
Seconded! Really hoping they have the flavor/fluff on there as well - that would make int'l shipping the physical product worth it to me.

I doubt any of the flavor text will be on the cards. Firstly, there needs to be SOMETHING you get for buying the book! :-) But more to the point, there's not likely to be room for additional flavor text.


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First of all, I want to applaud James Jacobs, after so many years and he's still so in touch with the community, fans, and costumers, that is a rare thing these days.

Second, I can't wait for these cards, does EVERY monster get their own card? Also in future Bestiaries? That is a cool collection!

Designer

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James Jacobs wrote:
Guang wrote:
Is somebody new working on individual monster fluff? Many of them are among the best and most interesting (maybe THE best) I've ever read from any product or system.

If you're talking about the sidebar information in the Bestiary, the majority of those were written by Patrick, Daigle, and myself (we also split the task of doing a flavor/initial rules development pass on the whole book), but some of them were written by others.

Glad you like them though!

And for the body descriptions of the creatures, those came from our amazing set of bestiary authors, in alphabetical order: Alexander Augunas, Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Eleanor Ferron, Leo Glass, Thurston Hillman, James Jacobs, Jason Keeley, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, Robert G. McCreary, Tim Nightengale, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, Michael Sayre, Mark Seifter, Chris S. Sims, Jeffrey Swank, Jason Tondro, Tonya Woldridge, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.

So in addition to the developers, the authors are veterans as well. No one was new, per se.

However, one big thing that changed for the descriptions was that Logan came up with a new guide for writing them and sent it out to all the authors, making sure that you lead with a compelling hook that tells you what the monster is, for instance.

Silver Crusade

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I do like the new setup for describing monsters as presented, much more pleasant to read.


Mark Seifter wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Guang wrote:
Is somebody new working on individual monster fluff? Many of them are among the best and most interesting (maybe THE best) I've ever read from any product or system.

If you're talking about the sidebar information in the Bestiary, the majority of those were written by Patrick, Daigle, and myself (we also split the task of doing a flavor/initial rules development pass on the whole book), but some of them were written by others.

Glad you like them though!

And for the body descriptions of the creatures, those came from our amazing set of bestiary authors, in alphabetical order: Alexander Augunas, Logan Bonner, Jason Bulmahn, John Compton, Paris Crenshaw, Adam Daigle, Eleanor Ferron, Leo Glass, Thurston Hillman, James Jacobs, Jason Keeley, Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, Robert G. McCreary, Tim Nightengale, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, Michael Sayre, Mark Seifter, Chris S. Sims, Jeffrey Swank, Jason Tondro, Tonya Woldridge, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.

So in addition to the developers, the authors are veterans as well. No one was new, per se.

However, one big thing that changed for the descriptions was that Logan came up with a new guide for writing them and sent it out to all the authors, making sure that you lead with a compelling hook that tells you what the monster is, for instance.

Amazing authors indeed! The sidebars definitely add to the whole experience as well, but it was the body descriptions that really caught my attention. Monsters that had previously been meh for me are now fascinating. I would love any and all info about Logan's new description writing guide, what's in it and what else it applies to. Bestiary 2, as well, I assume, but anything else in particular?


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I purchased the Bestiary and Players Guide from my local gaming shop. And I got to say the art work never fails to amaze, I am still processing the differences between Pathfinder, and Pathfinder 2. I just wanted to peek in here and say, the lore and are absolutely lovely, thank you.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Awahoon wrote:

First of all, I want to applaud James Jacobs, after so many years and he's still so in touch with the community, fans, and costumers, that is a rare thing these days.

Second, I can't wait for these cards, does EVERY monster get their own card? Also in future Bestiaries? That is a cool collection!

In relation to future Bestiaries, Erik did say that this was an experimental product, and expensive, so they'll be reviewing the reception to see what future products are made in this style.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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I'm pretty pleased with the look and feel of the Bestiary, myself, so I don't anticipate the monster format changing much at all going forward. Anything's possible though.

Silver Crusade

James Jacobs wrote:
I'm pretty pleased with the look and feel of the Bestiary, myself, so I don't anticipate the monster format changing much at all going forward. Anything's possible though.

Yay!


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The Gold Sovereign wrote:
I can't deny that the art for the hobgoblins is among my least favorite ones, especially since their illustrations in the Monster Codex and the Ironfang Invasion AP. I have nothing against their new head shape or their elongated arms - they are actually more fearsome in this way - but they do feel as smaller than they have always been.

I still don't like gangly hobgoblins, because if they're going to be the organised legions rather than the barbarian hordes, the more solid squat look of the PF1 hobgoblin is a lot more convincing to me as holding the line in a shieldwall.

Liberty's Edge

David knott 242 wrote:

I bet that is why Paizo changed it. The d20 SRD would have let them keep using the "derro" spelling under the OGL.

I noticed that quite a few times. Derro are Dero. Ettercaps are Web Lurkers. Stirges are Bloodseekers. Mites are Mitflits. Shambling Mounds are Shamblers. Sahuagin are Sea Devils. Troglodytes are Xulgath. Etc. Is is because of copyright or is it because Paizo wants to put its own stamp on these creatures.

And with others, like Aboleths vs. Alghollthu, or Devils and Demons vs. their alternative namesakes, Lizardfolk vs. Iruxi, and Ratfolk vs. Ysoki represent both common name and native name, why not follow suit?

As an aside, I was a bit disappointed to not see character races expanded with planar scions and other races that could be statted out as NPCs or PCs. I'm assuming that Paizo intends to publish these, as well as associated feats with future publications. But if people don't want to wait, has Paizo given suggestions how to do so until then?

Liberty's Edge

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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
The Gold Sovereign wrote:
I can't deny that the art for the hobgoblins is among my least favorite ones, especially since their illustrations in the Monster Codex and the Ironfang Invasion AP. I have nothing against their new head shape or their elongated arms - they are actually more fearsome in this way - but they do feel as smaller than they have always been.
I still don't like gangly hobgoblins, because if they're going to be the organised legions rather than the barbarian hordes, the more solid squat look of the PF1 hobgoblin is a lot more convincing to me as holding the line in a shieldwall.

I agree. I plan on sticking to older renditions of hobgoblins and bugbears.

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