Pathfinder Bestiary

4.30/5 (based on 11 ratings)
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

Online Resources: Rules and mechanics from this book can be accessed for free on Paizo's official online resource: Archives of Nethys. Click here!

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Rulebook Subscription.

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4.30/5 (based on 11 ratings)

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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...


Comparing this one to the PF1 Bestiary

3/5

Ok, this book is not just a rework of PF1's Bestiary, the changes are numerous:

Artwork
Artwork has colors of increased intensity, creatures are rather on the move than just standing there and they take up more space on the pages. Despite the increased space, many creatures are cut off at page end - which is quite annoying if you want the images for Roll20 etc..

Artwork (continued)
Artwork is done by many different artists. This means a variety of styles - and, well, a variety of quality. Some pieces are outright awesome, some are solid - and some are a letdown. Usually because they look overly comical: Seriously, a balor is the pinnacle of normal demons, it should look bada**, not like a smiling red insect. Some changes are a matter of taste: For example hobgoblins now look more goblin-like, with the according heads and ears.

Monster grouping
Monsters are more often grouped together. Makes sense and helps to see less obvious connections (aboleths and their servants etc.). Instead of the very static format in PF1 Bestiaries (1 or 2 pages for usually exactly one monster), you now get one or two monsters per page, with entries sometimes spanning a bit into the next page of the monster group. Well, it's less clean (and less print friendly), but the writers are no longer forced into a strict format, meaning we get a reasonable amount of text for most entries.

Naming policy
Some monsters got renamed to more generic names, probably for legal or convenience reasons (svirfneblin becomes deep gnome etc.). Not a biggie, but as a PF1 veteran you will need some effort to relearn.

New and old monsters
There are a few new monsters, and they make a good impression, at least to me. Most of the entries will be known to veterans - but not necessarily from B1. For example, daemons are around from the beginning.

Shorter statblocks
Statblocks are significantly shorter now. This is mostly a blessing, though ecology might be missed sometimes.

Playable races
Catfolk, ratfolk, tiefling, aasimar etc. are introduced - but not for play. Maybe they want to add them later, with proper ancestry content, but it's a disappointment if you are used to PF1.

More monsters
The book contains 414 creatures respective creature variants, according to the alphabetical listing. That surpasses the 311 ones of PF1's Bestiary 1 by far - if you don't count the 86 variants where the GM had to apply changes manually.

Finally, I am not so happy to see all these good outsiders among the first pages. Yes, they all start with "A" and have their fans. But at least for me, a Bestiary's primary purpose is to pull enemies out of it. And few groups will end up fighting angels, archons or azatas on a regular basis.

So overall, it's a solid book - it looks like it gets its job done, but doesn't have "awesome" written all over it. Newcomers might be happier with it than PF1 veterans.


"Woke" Monsters

1/5

Before I delve into the politics of "woke" monsters meant to appeal to the ultra-left, indulge me, if you will, to comment upon the non-political aspects of this tome...

Positives:

- Book is gorgeous, with mostly excellent art and layout.

- There are some new, surprising monsters in here, and a lot of good old classics. The number of monsters packed into this book is huge - 414.

- Statblocks are, blessedly, much shorter now, and it's very cool that monsters now have individualized reactions, and aren't beholden to the same design parameters as PCs. This leaves more room for "fluff" and descriptions of the monsters' places in the world of Golarion. This space is usually taken advantage of, making it all the more glaring when it is absent, as in the case of the wendigo.

Negatives:

- Too much space is wasted on basic animals, such as horses. For some reason, Paizo felt it necessary to illustrate these as well, as if we don't know what a horse looks like.

- Too many "Good" creatures are included, unlikely to be opponents for many gaming groups.

- Flavorful and traditional creature names have often been replaced by much more generic ones (e.g. replacing stirge with "bloodseeker", ettercap with "web lurker")

- While much of the art is quite good, a number of the interior art choices are middling to poor at best (bugbear, hobgoblin, ogre, troll, vampire, etc.).

- Not nearly enough of the creatures have specific sizes listed, simply "small", "large", etc. How big is a typical frost drake, gogiteth, etc.?

- Locations where creatures are most likely to be found is missing from statblocks and only occurs sporadically in descriptions. Big drawback. Paizo could have even leaned in to their embrace of Golarion and indicated where within their world specific monsters can be found. To add insult to injury, there are no encounter or location tables in the back of the bestiary!

- There is a lot of gender activism in here (all tilting towards feminism), and you'll find immersion-breaking statements concerning gender stereotypes, certain female creatures being stronger than the male versions, and a number of societies that are matriarchal, while you'll find none that are patriarchal. Odd, that. Apparently, within Golarion, all societies are either perfect exemplars of gender equality or tilt strongly towards matriarchy. This is silly and a huge blow against verisimilitude. (-1 star) Personally, I'd find it far more interesting to have characters explore a world of true diversity, reflective of the myriad and divergent cultures of its inhabitants, some of whom will craft matriarchies, and some patriarchies. Some might be ruled by Elders, some by the wielders of the arcane, others by seers and oracles, some ruled by those unburdened by base sexual desires, and perhaps some by gifted youth whose talents fade as they age. But having every culture reflect gender parity or matriarchy is just goofy.

- As well, the usual Paizo paternalism and puritanism is present - apparently females aren't allowed to visibly express their sexuality anymore. This manifests, as an example, with the illustration for the succubus, which is now apparently a Modesty Demon. (-1 star)

In sum, Paizo allows their desire to "include" everyone and engage in gender activism to lessen what would otherwise be a decent product. It's pretty clear at this point that most of Paizo's leaders do not respect masculinity, perhaps even being misandrists. Nonconformance to masculinity seems to be placed on a pedestal, save for, ironically, when Paizo is attempting to subvert stereotypes by portraying female versions of aggressive, strong warriors. And thus, we get nearly every female crafted to "play against type", subvert stereotypes, and change the thinking of their, apparently, neanderthal readers who can't think for themselves. This is completely ineffectual, for in order for stereotype subversion to be effective, you need stereotypes to exist, and people to harbor biases. This apparently does not occur in Golarion, where every community seems to be either an exemplar of gender equality or a matriarchy. Without a foundation of stereotypes, you can't play against type and subvert them. What you're left with is a world without a sense of mooring or verisimilitude, just a shadowy reflection of some modern, ultra-liberal idea of utopia.

For those who have followed Paizo for a while, none of this should be surprising. For those new to Paizo, you'll find these viewpoints infesting nearly every Paizo product these days. Paizo apparently lives in such fear of offending or angering the far-left that they find it impossible to creatively portray a fantasy world where male versions of a creature (not just humans) are physically stronger than females, or where a patriarchal, non-evil society exists. Of course, all of this runs contrary to our own history of humankind, but never mind that!

If you consider yourself ultra-liberal politically, want this portrayed in your purchases of fantasy RPG producs, and don't mind a lack of verisimilitude, this bestiary is for you. For all others, there's not nearly enough positive or new here to outweigh the negatives.


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The Advanced Player's Guide will have Planar Scions...Tiefling, Aasimar, Duskwalker.. (also Dhampir.. tho not a Planar Scion).. as heritages... and like 8 or so other ancestries.

Saurstalk wrote:
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?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Saurstalk wrote:

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?

We absolutely do, but those are player-facing options and don't belong in a GM-facing book like the Bestiary.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Saurstalk wrote:

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?

We absolutely do, but those are player-facing options and don't belong in a GM-facing book like the Bestiary.

Also Ancestry options take up 4 pages now rather than just being able to use the statblock like in 1st. Eats up too much pages methinks to put in a Bestiary, rather have 4 monsters :3

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
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.

I finally got my SE Bestiary a few days ago, and I have to say that it's GORGEOUS! I love the faux-leather covers, but it's nothing compared to the fantastic layout and all those beautiful illustrations inside! If I had to choose a favorite, it would be all the nagas; they look so repulsive and gorgeous at the same time, and I honestly think that is the best representation of this monster I've ever seen (or even dared to imagine). This book gets 5/5 stars from me! :)

My only complaint with the layout/format is that the traits/keywords are on colored background; it makes the words look a bit fuzzy and hard to read. However, it is just a minor issue and I completely understand why it was done that way.

I still haven't got my SE Core rulebook, though; it's my own fault for pre-ordering it too late. I hope my FLGS will get another shipment of them... if not, I'll have to order it via Amazon.


I'm still bummed that they choose two animated statues of all animated things they could choose :-(

Animated Weapons are awesome!

Animated Huts (like the one from Baba Yaga) are fun too, and perfect as higher level Animated objects.

Animated Treasure Hoards would also be awesome, they are the ultimate protector for your treasure, just animate the treasure itself into a wave of golden coins and jewels.

Of course and Animated Carpet that flies would have been fun too.

Anything is better than the two golem-wannabees I got


Awahoon wrote:

I'm still bummed that they choose two animated statues of all animated things they could choose :-(

Animated Weapons are awesome!

Animated Huts (like the one from Baba Yaga) are fun too, and perfect as higher level Animated objects.

Animated Treasure Hoards would also be awesome, they are the ultimate protector for your treasure, just animate the treasure itself into a wave of golden coins and jewels.

Of course and Animated Carpet that flies would have been fun too.

<snip>

Those are some really fun options you've got there!

:D

Carry on,

--C.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed some posts and the replies to them. The back and forth bickering needs to stop. I left up the 2 original posts in that exchange, and James' comment.

If you have rules questions they are better suited for the rules forum. If you need the text from the posts here let me know and I can get it for you.


I'm waiting for somebody who creates a Bestiary 2 wish-topic, most people who created those seem to be gone...

I'm not going to create such a topic, people seem to dislike me, they wouldn't react to that topic, so that would be the same as creating no topic at all.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Awahoon wrote:

I'm waiting for somebody who creates a Bestiary 2 wish-topic, most people who created those seem to be gone...

I'm not going to create such a topic, people seem to dislike me, they wouldn't react to that topic, so that would be the same as creating no topic at all.

No one has created a new thread for Bestiary 2 because they already had the creatures picked out when they announced it, so it's more of a wait and see situation.

But popularity shouldn't be an issue in regards to bestiary wish lists, I know I personally have no issue with you, nor would I let it affect my posts on the topic if I did.

Trust me, there are plenty of people on these boards that wish I would go away, and it honestly doesn't matter to me.


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

Wish list created, go nuts everyone!

Please remember to be excellent to each other!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks! That is awesome! I'm going to create my list!

Dark Archive

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Okay, I've finally had a few days to read through most of the monster entries. To summarize, in my opinion most of them have really cool abilities, but some are simply just faithful 2E conversions of their first edition counterparts (same special abilities/qualities with different math), and yet a few have either "bland" or confusing/weird abilities.
Regardless, the vast majority of the monsters are well-designed and have really flavorful and fun abilities! I'm also very happy with the fluff (including sidebar information/vignettes) and all the variant abilities presented in this book.

I would have preferred less innate spells for monsters; it's a bit confusing if a monster has, for example, separate lists for occult spells and spontaneous arcane spells. I personally feel "more thematic abilities and less spells" would have been the best kind of guideline with 2E monsters, but hey, it's really easy to tinker with 2E monsters, even without the guidelines that will published in GMG. :)

I'm still giving this book 5/5. Amazing work, people! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I mean I stopped contributing much to the wishlists because at some point I just ran out of ideas, plus I figure the the devs and associated folks already had jotted down notes of what they liked and would be interested in for a future book


Anyone know when this is coming out on Roll20.net?


Question (possible errata?):

Looking at the Sprite category/family --

Are all three supposed to be CN?

or,

Should the Sprite alone be CN, Grig --> NG(CG?), & Pixie --> CG(?)?

I ask, not just because of edition compatibility/legacy, but also because their descriptions (particularly the Grig's) don't seem to line up well with CN... (Although, it could just be me. :/ )

Please & thank you.

--C.


So if Changelings can be male now, is there a new studio position on Changeling reproduction, both between pairs of changelings and between Changelings and other Ancestries?

Dark Archive

I'm just wondering if that is referring to calibans or if calibans are now retconned to not exist or be something different?

Silver Crusade

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

Calibans are something completely different.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.
captain yesterday wrote:
No one has created a new thread for Bestiary 2 because they already had the creatures picked out when they announced it, so it's more of a wait and see situation.

Note that in many cases, since we know what books we're doing a year or even two in advance of when we announce them... this has kinda been the case for most of our Bestiaries. So wish lists for Bestiaries are as welcome now as ever.


Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Seisho wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Takei wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Takei wrote:
Saurstalk wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Ayronis wrote:
My PDF order has been stuck on "Pending" and "not available" since 10am this morning, but the CRB came through just fine. Is there something up with the Bestiary file or is it me?
FWIW, I was able to purchase and download it a few hours ago.
Interesting, because I purchased my .pdf this morning, too, and it still says it's not available.
I bought mine yesterday at the same time as the Core Rulebook and almost day later still can't download the Bestiary (the Core Rulebook was OK). I've mailed customer support but am not expecting to hear back from them until after GenCon :-/
Instead of going to the Digital Content of your account page have you tried the Downloads tab at the top of the posts by the Review tab? That's how I was able to get mine.

Thanks for the tip. I never noticed that tab before :-)

Unfortunately in this case the tab isn't there, although there is text in red at the top of the product page saying, "NOTE: You purchased this product yesterday." I guess it's just a gremlin in the system which they'll sort out in due course.

Np, but curses!

Hopefully you'll get your's soon.

Still waiting, purchased yesterday at around 3 pm and now its 9 pm and I don't have the option to download the book

I had a really horrible day and this would have been a nice little something to make it better

Have any of you had this resolved yet? I started the Rulebook subscription with the Core Rulebook (2ed) thinking that the Bestiary would be included but have seen nothing to indicate that it is on the list.

Dark Archive

captain yesterday wrote:
I love the new Hobgoblins!

Aesthetically, I preferred the less-goblin-y looking hobgoblins (and bugbears), but it is true that much of the previous hobgoblin art made them look hugely strong, which, for a race with a +2 Dex and +2 Con, but not a plus to Strength, seemed an odd choice. (Much like Wayne Reynolds Warforged art in Eberron, which seemed to often make them look size Large, when they were actually size Medium.)

I do like that the new art seems more 'true' to the race's traditional statistics, learner and less burly. (Even if those might change in 2nd edition...)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
erucsbo wrote:
Seisho wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Takei wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Takei wrote:
Saurstalk wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Ayronis wrote:
My PDF order has been stuck on "Pending" and "not available" since 10am this morning, but the CRB came through just fine. Is there something up with the Bestiary file or is it me?
FWIW, I was able to purchase and download it a few hours ago.
Interesting, because I purchased my .pdf this morning, too, and it still says it's not available.
I bought mine yesterday at the same time as the Core Rulebook and almost day later still can't download the Bestiary (the Core Rulebook was OK). I've mailed customer support but am not expecting to hear back from them until after GenCon :-/
Instead of going to the Digital Content of your account page have you tried the Downloads tab at the top of the posts by the Review tab? That's how I was able to get mine.

Thanks for the tip. I never noticed that tab before :-)

Unfortunately in this case the tab isn't there, although there is text in red at the top of the product page saying, "NOTE: You purchased this product yesterday." I guess it's just a gremlin in the system which they'll sort out in due course.

Np, but curses!

Hopefully you'll get your's soon.

Still waiting, purchased yesterday at around 3 pm and now its 9 pm and I don't have the option to download the book

I had a really horrible day and this would have been a nice little something to make it better

Have any of you had this resolved yet? I started the Rulebook subscription with the Core Rulebook (2ed) thinking that the Bestiary would be included but have seen nothing to indicate that it is on the list.

You'd be better off posting questions like this in the Customer Service forum.

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