The Bestiary Reminds Me of the 3e and 4e Monster Manuals


Product Discussion

1 to 50 of 99 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

And that's not a good thing.

I had a long, ranty post mapped out with a lot of details about why the Bestiary has sent me retreating from any plans to purchase more Pathfinder products, but I don't really see the point of eviscerating a product on a company website.

I will say that I am extremely disappointed in the book. I didn't care much about the delays, but I do care that almost every monster is simply a stat block, with almost no flavor text.

Considering the universal outcry against the 3e original Monster Manual and the short shrift it gave everything but stats (which led to the improved 3.5e manual, and vastly improved monster books as 3.5 winded down), I can't believe that both Wizards and Paizo reverted to this style with the 4e monster book and the Bestiary, respectively. Wizards treatment of monsters is a major reason I abandoned them in recent months and decided to plunge into Pathfinder. So the Bestiary has left me with an awful taste in my mouth.

Considering that Paizo's Chronicles products have some of the stronger flavor and background text of any fantasy roleplaying product since 2e TSR books, the Bestiary is just a major letdown.

There are other issues with the book that I could go into (including the lack of templates, level adjustments, dragon age categories, etc.), but it really doesn't seem appropriate to focus on details when something very general is wrong. The Bestiary represents a major step backward from 3.5 materials and seemed almost a wasted purchase.

Anyway, the art is great, but for the first time a Paizo product has left me thinking that I need to be more careful when purchasing books in the future.

Sczarni

If I had to guess, I would say that space issues was a big reazon for it.
The other one would be how hard they tried to keep the PFRPG line setting neutral, which would explain why the flavor on the Chronicles (setting specific) books is so vast and the one on the bestiary is kind of non existent. It seems more like give it your own flavor depending on the setting.
But again this is all just a guess.


I am not here to defend the book - for which i also have some criticism, but that i still like.

There is some flavor text.
Not a lot, but still each creature gets his fluff.
Now i understand that all would have loved a bigger amount of flavor text and development. But this is a monster book, not a supplement.
We have been spoiled with Classic Monsters, which was the opposite, containing quite no crunch.
To save space and keep an easy reading, Paizo went for a one page per monster format. That obviously limits to the fluff, flavor text and all.
Consider also that the Bestiary is mainly destined to GMs, not really for players.

Good point from Frerezar, about the setting.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
jscott991 wrote:

And that's not a good thing.

I had a long, ranty post mapped out with a lot of details about why the Bestiary has sent me retreating from any plans to purchase more Pathfinder products, but I don't really see the point of eviscerating a product on a company website.

I will say that I am extremely disappointed in the book. I didn't care much about the delays, but I do care that almost every monster is simply a stat block, with almost no flavor text.

Considering the universal outcry against the 3e original Monster Manual and the short shrift it gave everything but stats (which led to the improved 3.5e manual, and vastly improved monster books as 3.5 winded down), I can't believe that both Wizards and Paizo reverted to this style with the 4e monster book and the Bestiary, respectively. Wizards treatment of monsters is a major reason I abandoned them in recent months and decided to plunge into Pathfinder. So the Bestiary has left me with an awful taste in my mouth.

Considering that Paizo's Chronicles products have some of the stronger flavor and background text of any fantasy roleplaying product since 2e TSR books, the Bestiary is just a major letdown.

There are other issues with the book that I could go into (including the lack of templates, level adjustments, dragon age categories, etc.), but it really doesn't seem appropriate to focus on details when something very general is wrong. The Bestiary represents a major step backward from 3.5 materials and seemed almost a wasted purchase.

Anyway, the art is great, but for the first time a Paizo product has left me thinking that I need to be more careful when purchasing books in the future.

Erm, do you realize that almost every monster in PFRPG Bestiary has more fluff than 3.5e equivalents ? Did you really compare the two ?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

One thing to remember is that the Bestiary is NOT supposed to be Golarian specific. It, and the Core Rulebook, are designed for folks wanting to play the game, not the world.

The fluff is therefore kept on the light side, as anything they write that goes into great detail would be Golarian specific. Folks have complained that there was too much of that in the Core Rules with the inclusion of the Gods of Golarian (which I found very silly, since throughout D&D there have always been gods included that reflected the major campaign world of the time).

I personally am enjoying the Bestiary. The fact that the layout is consistant, that I have pictures of all the beasties to use, and can rapidly find the information I need. Yes, I would have loved to have all the fluff and info that I know Paizo is capable of, but I also want to have LOTS of monsters to play with and be able to lift the book :)

For fluff and Golarian specific information about a creature, the place to go are the APs for monsters used within the realm of that story arch, and the Revisisted series, that gives you tons of useful information and some very, very specific Golarian information.

Just some food for thought when viewing any of the books from the RPG line -- they are going to be generic, as befits rulesbooks. Fluff is found in the Chronicles.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:


Erm, do you realize that almost every monster in PFRPG Bestiary has more fluff than 3.5e equivalents ? Did you really compare the two ?

Thank gods I'm not the only one that noticed that. I mean yeah there not huge but are bigger (At worst same size) than the 3.5 ones.


You are comparing only the 3.5 Monster Manual 1 to the Bestiary, and it is a comparison that the Bestiary might win.

But the later 3.5 monster manuals all reverted to providing the ecology and society type paragraphs for each monster. There is almost no comparison between the flavor text of the Bestiary and these books. And 3.5's later monster manuals were not setting specific, but still included flavor text.

And the reason those books started to include that information again (in my opinion based on only anecdotal evidence) is the almost universal scorn that Wizards endured when they cut those sections from the original 3e monster manual.

The Bestiary does not have the ecology or society-type information. It doesn't have a section on "In the Blankity Blank" like later 3.5 books had (usually for describing how to use the monster in Eberron or Faerun). For some monsters, it has almost no information at all.

If flavor text isn't welcome in rulebooks, then I don't see any reason to purchase them. People don't have to agree with me, of course. But flavor text and providing something different/better than 4e (and even than 3.5) is supposed to be the reason for using Pathfinder. Here I got something vastly inferior to one and roughly the equivalent of the other.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

All right, but you're comparing apples to oranges. The Bestiary is supposed to fill the same role as MM, read: provide you with a lot of monsters for your buck.

A mere Basilisk has 275 words of fluff in 3.5 and 388 in Pathfinder. I don't even want to compare Outsiders, because it would make the 3.5 authors look lazy.

Once you establish a solid base of monsters for DMs to use, you can fiddle around with 200 page monster books which contain less monsters with more flavour. And that's how MM2 and above work. You don't have to worry about cramming a core group of fantasy monsters into a reasonable hardcover book.

Also, the Bestiary uses "1 monster per page" format, which is ten thousand times more useful than the "art layout nightmare" of 3.5 MM.

EDIT: You know which WotC MM took the most flak ? The IV, with it's lairs and variant monsters and whotanots.


I'm comparing monster books done well, to a monster book done less well.

That's more like comparing sour apples to sweet ones, in my opinion.

But I don't expect many here to agree with me. Perhaps I shouldn't have said anything and just quietly left Pathfinder behind.

I just posted so extensively when I first bought Pathfinder books, that slinking away wasn't appealing. But it might have been the best choice.


Looking through a later monster manual, I notice that all the monsters seem to get at least two pages each. That is perfectly fine and allows them that more space for description. But then, I would have to ask the jscott991, to make room for the flavor text you want, which monsters should be in the half that should be cut? Because if you are saying that all the monsters should have gotten another page or so, each monster kept means another monster lost.

I think the complaining would be much greater than you can muster if the core monster manual had less than 150 monsters.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The Bestiary line is not the place for us to develop a monster's flavor exhaustively. It is a rule book and reference for those rules first and foremost, and keeping monsters to one page per entry is important to keep things easy to navigate. I can understand why someone might be disappointed at the flavor... but there IS for most monsters more flavor than there was in the 3.5 MM. (I'm not familiar enough with the 4E one to make that call.)

Fortunately, there ARE options to get monsters with much more flavor. Our Monsters Revisited books are tackling the monsters 10 at a time, giving each six pages of flavor. And the Pathfinder Adventure Paths will continue to present 4–6 monsters every volume in the two page format. When we pick up monsters from here to reprint in upcoming bestiaries, we'll be trimming these 2 page monsters down to 1 page each, partially because we want the APs to remain the go-to place for detailed monster flavor, but also because we want to fit as many monsters as we can into those bestiaries.

So, again: You're expecting the Bestiary line of books to deliver something it's not meant to deliver, I'm afraid. In fact, as a general rule, ALL of our rulebook line will skew HEAVILLY toward the rules and not so much dwell on the flavor. That's going to remain the province of our Adventure Paths, modules, chronicles, and companions. And now and then we WILL be doing hardcover books in these lines.

If you're looking for lots of monster flavor, in other words, don't go to the Bestiaries. Look to the Adventure Paths and Revisited lines. (NOTE: We also periodically do 6 to 10 page "ecology" writeups of monsters in the APS as well; we did so with stone giants, rakshasas, drow, genies, and tieflings so far)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A good writer can spark my imagination with 100 words, and leave me wanting to know what does the creature's poo look like, and for that I will want the Chronicles books.

The problem with 4e Bestiary is not that the fluff is of poor quality, it's that there is *no* fluff there. The 4e Basilisk has 20 words of fluff.

Shadow Lodge

jscott991 wrote:
But the later 3.5 monster manuals all reverted to providing the ecology and society type paragraphs for each monster. There is almost no comparison between the flavor text of the Bestiary and these books. And 3.5's later monster manuals were not setting specific, but still included flavor text.

It just goes to show the level of differences each personal opinion brings. I absolutely hated the later Monster Manual books from the 3.5 era.

Gorbacz wrote:
EDIT: You know which WotC MM took the most flak ? The IV, with it's lairs and variant monsters and whotanots.

Much like Gorbacz pointed out, they were re-visitations of core creatures I didn't need (I don't need to see how YOU make an Ogre Barbarian thanks, I can make my own) and with more information than was worthwhile taking up valuable space for more interesting creatures (such as lairs).

When it comes to a core rule book, I want my information to be concise and clear with enough fluff to understand some general information about the critter. Sure the really deep fluff is good, but unlike peanut butter and chocolate, too much of both at once can make you sick. The ecology information can come from my own creativity, OR from the world-specific books which are designed to contain that level of fluff. What I guess I'm getting at is that I'm not terribly capable at designing an interesting, balanced, well designed creature. I am capable of writing up why that creature can be found in a dank seaside cave.

What I'm liking about how Paizo put together their bestiary is that the core information is contained within the bestiary, and for creatures that have very specific ecologies in the Pathfinder world, the Classic Monsters Revisited series (and the dragon book) is greatly expanding on the lore without cluttering up what is essentially designed to be a rule book. Not to say the Bestiary isn't without it's problems, but frankly I'm happy as a clam with my copy.


If people are satisfied with the extreme retrograde that the Bestiary represents when compared with 3.5's evolution, then I don't know what else to say.

The Paizo explanation is easily understood, but it doesn't change the fact that the Bestiary repeats the exact same mistake that so many players complained about when 3e came out.

Only this time, the book is being praised and defended much more loudly, at least here.

It's amazing to me that in its 20th anniversary, the Monstrous Compendium of 1989 remains, by far, the best monster book ever produced.

Why we can't equal that book (which also used, for the most part, 1 page layouts) 20 years later and despite no fewer than 4 separate attempts (3.e, 3.5, 4.0, and the Bestiary) is beyond me.

I expected something else from the Bestiary. I didn't get it. I'm now being told I'm never going to get it. I don't like softcover books and I don't like short books. So despite my initial enthusiasm, I guess Pathfinder is a dead end for me.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No you are comparing later monster books that since they have all the basics covered in the original monster manual can afford to dedicate more space to fluff for monsters. To put it simply in order to make room for more fluff they would either 1 have to double the page count of the book or 2 cut out several monsters.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

jscott991 wrote:

It's amazing to me that in its 20th anniversary, the Monstrous Compendium of 1989 remains, by far, the best monster book ever produced.

Why we can't equal that book (which also used, for the most part, 1 page layouts) 20 years later and despite no fewer than 4 separate attempts (3.e, 3.5, 4.0, and the Bestiary) is beyond me.

Partially because the game has moved in a different direction over the past 20 years. Partially because a book in the format of the original Monstrous Compendium (loose leaf with one monster per page) was too fragile and prone to falling apart or losing components. Partially because a book in that format would have been more expensive to produce than a normal book. Partially because we chose to run our art larger than the art in that book was run.

jscott991 wrote:
I expected something else from the Bestiary. I didn't get it. I'm now being told I'm never going to get it. I don't like softcover books and I don't like short books. So despite my initial enthusiasm, I guess Pathfinder is a dead end for me.

We can't please everyone all of the time. I"m sorry the direction we took with the layout of the Bestiary and the sizes of the flavor books aren't what you're looking for, but they're doing well enough overall that it's not going to change in the future.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

jscott991 wrote:

If people are satisfied with the extreme retrograde that the Bestiary represents when compared with 3.5's evolution, then I don't know what else to say.

The Paizo explanation is easily understood, but it doesn't change the fact that the Bestiary repeats the exact same mistake that so many players complained about when 3e came out.

Only this time, the book is being praised and defended much more loudly, at least here.

It's amazing to me that in its 20th anniversary, the Monstrous Compendium of 1989 remains, by far, the best monster book ever produced.

Why we can't equal that book (which also used, for the most part, 1 page layouts) 20 years later and despite no fewer than 4 separate attempts (3.e, 3.5, 4.0, and the Bestiary) is beyond me.

I expected something else from the Bestiary. I didn't get it. I'm now being told I'm never going to get it. I don't like softcover books and I don't like short books. So despite my initial enthusiasm, I guess Pathfinder is a dead end for me.

What you are seeing as a "mistake" some of us are seeing as a strength.

I did not hear lots of complaints before this about a monster manual, except for the one that you find the strongest. I worked at a gaming store at the time that 2e came out, and heard all the problems with the Monstrous Compendium ... how folks despised the ring binder format, that pages tore out too easily, that you could not organize the monsters in any way you liked (despite that being one of the selling points) since they often printed 'em back to back on a page, especially in the later expansions.

You say you don't like softcover, yet that is, to me at least, the epitome of a soft cover, with all those loose leaf pages and the fact that TSR of the time never came out with a third binder to hold all the world specific packets (I know, I have the first two binders and a third black three ring on my shelf to hold the complete sets).

I am sorry you're writing off the game system because of it not meeting an expectation that you had that was never promised or to my mind implied. I know there were lots of angst on these boards with folks worrying that the Core rulebooks would be TOO much Golarian, and they did their own homebrew, or FR, or whatever ... the core rules of any D&D game have always been as setting neutral as possible.

I find plenty of fluff in the Bestiary to keep me happy, and go to the sources for the expansion because that's where it belongs, in the Chronicles, not the Core.


I actually meant the 384 page Monstrous Manual which compiled all the Compendiums. That's an unfortunate typo, since it lent itself to a very simple rebuttal focused only on the loose-leaf page concept rather than the substance of the book.

You are correct. Keep doing whatever is successful. I'm not going to crusade to convince people they are getting less than they should and I'm not experiencing much success in pointing out that players and readers were all livid over these exact same omissions a few years ago, so why are we happy now?

If you can get people to pay for stat blocks in a hardback book and then flavor text in dozens of flimsy softcover books that will have a 5-6 year lifespan before disintegrating, then I don't see why you wouldn't continue to do that.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Aaaand because the 3ed statblock is three times as big as 2ed statblock (yes I did my math, a Basilisk statblock in 3.5 has circa 400 letters, the 2ed statblock has 130).

And you can't cut back on the statblocks.


Gorbacz wrote:
Aaaand because the 3ed statblock is three times as big as 2ed statblock (yes I did my math, a Basilisk statblock in 3.5 has circa 400 letters, the 2ed statblock has 130).

This is not a good thing.

Scarab Sages

If the Bestiary had all the fluff I wanted regarding its occupants, it would be 3 times as thick as the core rulebook. As it stands, I'm pretty happy with Paizo's strategy of giving some of the old stand-bys, freaks, and nasties the treatment they are getting in the Revisited books.

And I love the collective nouns... an orgy of satyers? Nice!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
jscott991 wrote:


If you can get people to pay for stat blocks in a hardback book and then flavor text in dozens of flimsy softcover books that will have a 5-6 year lifespan before disintegrating, then I don't see why you wouldn't continue to do that.

You quite clearly have been buying some piss poor softcover books then


I love the bestiary.

Reading it gave me the same feeling I had as a kid reading the AD&D Monster Manual. I enjoyed the Bestiary more than the Core Rulebook.

Now if only the Bestiary had an Aurumvorax in it, it'd have been perfect.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hazel monday wrote:
Now if only the Bestiary had an Aurumvorax in it, it'd have been perfect.

Is that Open Content? I'd love to see one too.

Scarab Sages

jscott991 wrote:
If you can get people to pay for stat blocks in a hardback book and then flavor text in dozens of flimsy softcover books that will have a 5-6 year lifespan before disintegrating, then I don't see why you wouldn't continue to do that.

Wierd... my Lankmar, City of Adventure books from TSR dated 1984 or 1985 (I forget which) are still in really good shape (and several others that predate them). Many of the modules I've purchased since the inseption of 3e are all fine even with using them. And I have kids. I don't think the books are quite so fragile as you suggest.

Shadow Lodge

jscott991 wrote:

It's amazing to me that in its 20th anniversary, the Monstrous Compendium of 1989 remains, by far, the best monster book ever produced.

Why we can't equal that book (which also used, for the most part, 1 page layouts) 20 years later and despite no fewer than 4 separate attempts (3.e, 3.5, 4.0, and the Bestiary) is beyond me.

I expected something else from the Bestiary. I didn't get it. I'm now being told I'm never going to get it. I don't like softcover books and I don't like short books. So despite my initial enthusiasm, I guess Pathfinder is a dead end for me.

If you think the Monstrous Compendium was really the pinnacle of monster books and liked its layout and contents, I'm afraid you may never again find something that's going to reach the bar you've set. Most games these days don't dedicate the resources to the monster fluff like it used to. The "Critters" book for Shadowrun was barely a pamphlet, from what I hear 4E barely dedicates a paragraph to most creatures, games like Star Wars (even the old D6 version) have quarter page stat blocks for most things you meet up with, and now Pathfinder has come out with a one page per creature (generally) book which does have flavor text (and in fact more than generally is produced these days), is the owner of the "monster ecology" concept in the APs, has a whole line of "revised" books which really expand on creatures in new and interesting ways, and has come out with books on specific creatures/areas (planes and dragons) and it too is not good enough.

Fact is (and I think this is what James has alluded to), core rulebooks produced by game companies these days are viewed exactly as that, a "rule book". The first and foremost requirement of such a book is going to be the stat block. The second requirement of such a book is going to be putting in as many interesting creatures as possible. Once you combine the two and realize you're looking at over 200 pages and requires a certain level of production values required by players these days (the 3-ring binder Monstrous Compendium isn't going to cut it these days for most DMs), the real-world result is that the fluff will suffer. I already have players in my PFRPG game complaining that the $50 for the Core Book has broken their bank (we have three books for a five person table).

If you don't like Pathfinder, that's great. You should play what you're interested in, as it's your hobby. It's just unfortunate that you're ready to completely toss out the whole idea of Pathfinder because you don't like paperback books and won't look beyond the core rulebook for what you're interested in.

Scarab Sages

hazel monday wrote:
Now if only the Bestiary had an Aurumvorax in it, it'd have been perfect.

Weren't they in the ToH? I'm thinking so, but I've been wrong on this topic before. Yeah, we need some Golarion Golden Gorgers!

Shadow Lodge

Kevin Mack wrote:
jscott991 wrote:


If you can get people to pay for stat blocks in a hardback book and then flavor text in dozens of flimsy softcover books that will have a 5-6 year lifespan before disintegrating, then I don't see why you wouldn't continue to do that.
You quite clearly have been buying some piss poor softcover books then

I have played Shadowrun for 20 years. I own ever book ever created for Shadowrun. They just released their 20th Anniversary hardcover. None of my softcovers are in poor shape and they've been played to hell and back. What are these softcover books made out of - wet newspaper?

EDIT: May math sucks today.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

IIRC they were statted up on the WotC website.


Gavgoyle wrote:
jscott991 wrote:
If you can get people to pay for stat blocks in a hardback book and then flavor text in dozens of flimsy softcover books that will have a 5-6 year lifespan before disintegrating, then I don't see why you wouldn't continue to do that.
Wierd... my Lankmar, City of Adventure books from TSR dated 1984 or 1985 (I forget which) are still in really good shape (and several others that predate them). Many of the modules I've purchased since the inseption of 3e are all fine even with using them. And I have kids. I don't think the books are quite so fragile as you suggest.

It would be inappropriate for me to discuss the books I had in mind when posting that. It was already a bit harsh. I am confident though that certain books in my possession will not survive longterm unless they are carefully maintained.

The softcover v. hardcover debate is a separate topic. I thought my "side" had won during 3.0 and 3.5, but, alas, softcover is harder to kill than a vampire.

This is all peripheral. I appear to be the only one uncomfortable with the idea of having lots of little books to contain information that could be in just one big hardcover volume, and no company in its right mind would cater to such an extreme minority.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

I'm still bitter that none of the monster books since the 1e versions have had nudity. Where will the poor 13 year olds of the modern age have such ready and easy access to nekkid women? It's not like they can just use some magical device to access more nekkid women than could ever fit under a mattress and...

oh wait...what's that you say...

such a magical device does exist?

I don't care! I still want my hot succubus drawings!!! The Bestiary fails in this regard, just like every post-1e monster book. For shame, Paizo. For shame.


I am agreeing with others here. The book needs to be compared to the MM1 not later books. You just can not get what your asking for and include all the monsters in the book. It just can not be done

Your asking for something no gaming company can pull off. You are also not taking into account the cost of making a book now days vs, back in the 80's or 90's. The paper is different, the printers are different, the cost to print and ship are different. I myself would not again by a binded MM, It was a mess , they came out way to easy and if ya want to make one , well a PDF is your friend

I look at my 2e MM, it was 386 pages, most monster took up 1 to 3 pages. The stat block was 24 to 30 small lines, The font of the book was like 5 or 6 maybe, I mean tiny. Now it was non glossy paper, and thinner paper then now used and cost me 24.95 to buy

Now ya want to guess what a book like that , with 300+ pieces of art and near 400 pages would cost now?

I understand you might not like it but you are comparing it to the wrong books. The first monster book simply can not waste space on 2 pages per monster. A 150 monster book would be near useless unless ya stop it at CR 10 OR so. How useful is that?

Shadow Lodge

Curiously...

The only book in my collection I'm sad is disintegrating is my (hardcover) Dragon Compendium from Paizo.

What did they put that together with - spit and tape?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sebastian, be honest - you want that Paizo puts up a nipple in a Bestiary and you get to sue them for violating the puritan mindset of the USA. That's your plan. We knew it all along !

Dark Archive

I would have liked to see more fluff on each monster as well. But for me it is not a deal breaker, though it would have been nice. But to get what I wanted the book would have had to double in size and cost to much or have half the monsters. Which I would have been ok with but I think I am very much in the minority there.

Maybe with luck we will start seeing some 64 page chronicle monster books that focus on fluff. Ala like the current book of the Damned series about devils, demons etc.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I am agreeing with others here. The book needs to be compared to the MM1 not later books. You just can not get what your asking for and include all the monsters in the book. It just can not be done.

This is a common sentiment that I don't understand.

Initial 3.0 monster books by Wizards were vilified for the omission of the ecology and society sections.

Wizards relented and put them back in later books.

But it is inappropriate to compare those books to the Bestiary?

It seems most appropriate to compare something to the best example of what can be done.

Should we compare new telephone technology to rotary phones? I would think the proper comparison would be to iPhones, Blackberries, and phone products being released today.

I came to Pathfinder for something better than I could get elsewhere. My understanding was the entire system developed to provide players with an improvement to 3.5 and an alternative to what's currently being supported by other companies. I didn't expect a retrograde in material and presentation.

People seem to think it is ridiculous to expect ecology and society writeups, but that is exactly what most everyone was expecting when 3e omitted it. It was brought back, but now is gone again. Why is it shocking to be disappointed and upset?


jscott991 wrote:


People seem to think it is ridiculous to expect ecology and society writeups, but that is exactly what most everyone was expecting when 3e omitted it. It was brought back, but now is gone again. Why is it shocking to be disappointed and upset?

No I would dearly love to see it. However it can not be done. Not and keep the page count and the number of monsters. They can not get away with the size 5 font now days, pity but that's it. Already people complain that paizo's size 8 or 10 font is way to small.

Now if you can show them a layout that includes. 1 monster per page, full stat block and 1 picture. And not have to cut any more then they did and not increasing the page count and stay at front size they use. I am sure they will hear you out.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

jscott991 wrote:


Anyway, the art is great, but for the first time a Paizo product has left me thinking that I need to be more careful when purchasing books in the future.

And that's not a bad thing.

It sounds like what you actually want is the Revisited series. Paizo has done plenty of work on monster flavor-text in Golarion, which is probably why the Beastiary focused on updated stats and mechanics. Maybe next time you'll do your homework before shelling out 39.99 on a hyped-up product that you don't actually want.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

jscott991 wrote:


Initial 3.0 monster books by Wizards were vilified for the omission of the ecology and society sections.

I must've been absent from that alternative reality when that happened. I recall some people who didn't want to switch from 2e being very upset, and I recall being upset that the monsters were split over multiple pages (which made them hard to read), but I totally missed the pitchfork carrying mobs that descended on WotC.

jscott991 wrote:
Wizards relented and put them back in later books.

Huh? I thought it was that they realized having monsters spread over multiple pages was a problem, which resulted in the revisions to the 3.5 monster manual. For the other manuals, I thought the expanded sections were necessary because the new monsters were much less iconic and required a greater amount of explanation. I recall people complaining about the amount of flavor text in some of those books. But, again, I'm speaking only on behalf of myself and the small number of comments I saw, not on behalf of everyone who ever lived and played D&D.

jscott991 wrote:
People seem to think it is ridiculous to expect ecology and society writeups, but that is exactly what most everyone was expecting when 3e omitted it. It was brought back, but now is gone again. Why is it shocking to be disappointed and upset?

You know what would be nice? If people could just make their claims without trying to speak for some vast silent majority. I wasn't expecting this, a lot of people on this thread weren't expecting this, so I'm really not sure where your statement that "most everyone" expected it comes from.

Seriously, if you don't like it, that's fine, but stand on your own two feet and quit pretending as though you speak on behalf of "most everyone." You don't.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Callous Jack wrote:
hazel monday wrote:
Now if only the Bestiary had an Aurumvorax in it, it'd have been perfect.
Is that Open Content? I'd love to see one too.

It is. It's in the Tome of Horrors. Stay tuned.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
jscott991 wrote:
seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I am agreeing with others here. The book needs to be compared to the MM1 not later books. You just can not get what your asking for and include all the monsters in the book. It just can not be done.

This is a common sentiment that I don't understand.

Initial 3.0 monster books by Wizards were vilified for the omission of the ecology and society sections.

Wizards relented and put them back in later books.

But it is inappropriate to compare those books to the Bestiary?

It seems most appropriate to compare something to the best example of what can be done.

Should we compare new telephone technology to rotary phones? I would think the proper comparison would be to iPhones, Blackberries, and phone products being released today.

I came to Pathfinder for something better than I could get elsewhere. My understanding was the entire system developed to provide players with an improvement to 3.5 and an alternative to what's currently being supported by other companies. I didn't expect a retrograde in material and presentation.

People seem to think it is ridiculous to expect ecology and society writeups, but that is exactly what most everyone was expecting when 3e omitted it. It was brought back, but now is gone again. Why is it shocking to be disappointed and upset?

Okay, we get it you don't like it. If it's not what you want it's simple go play something else that suits your fancy instead of trying to convince us that we're all wrong and that Paizo is just trying to bleed our wallets. It wasnt a valid complaint when used against WOTC and it isnt one NOW.

Youre comparing the Bestiary to the 4E Monster Manual, great lets take a look at the Minotaur entry in both books.

The Bestiary fits the Stat Block, Picture and about 3 paragraphs of fluff on a single page.

The 4E MM has two pictures and three (shorter, because of the nature of 4E) stat blocks spread out over 2 pages with tactics for each stat block as well as fluff and Minotaur lore and set Encounter groups.

It looks like for what you want, 4E might be more up your alley in terms of monster manual fluff.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

jscott991 wrote:
People seem to think it is ridiculous to expect ecology and society writeups, but that is exactly what most everyone was expecting when 3e omitted it. It was brought back, but now is gone again. Why is it shocking to be disappointed and upset?

Extensive cology and society was not something I ever expected in my Monster Manuals, I went to Dragon Magazine for that information, and so did just about everyone I played with ... so I don't know who these "most everyone" that I bolded above are ... but let's look at the Ankheg from the Monstrous Compendium and the Bestiary to see what is really missing:

Comparing the two pages, both write-ups fit on one page. Yes, the stat block in the Bestiary is larger, but it incorporates the information on Combat in approximately the same space. The page has less "room" in the Bestiary, because it uses proper margin width that was almost non-existent in the MC. The picture takes up the same approximate space, and is much better in the Bestiary, not looking like a close up of a grasshopper/cricket. Because the monster is done in color, you do not need to do as long a verbal description, saving words there.

Now to the grist of the argument. The Ecology and Habitat that you lament at being lost is there, in the text ... it has been reworded, condensed in some parts, but what I need to know, I have. The information that may appear to be "missing" I look at as excised, cut out as no longer pertinent to this version of the Ankheg.

What it seems you want is a tab saying "here is the Ecology" etc., whereas you were given "here is the creature" ... ::shrug::

The information that I need is in the Bestiary. If I want more, I would either make it up for myself, find older sources, or see if Paizo had done one of their Revisited or APs covering the critter in question. I am one of those that always wants more, I love seeing what other folks are doing, but I don't require it.


I've said repeatedly I don't speak for a majority of people here or a majority of Pathfinder players or Paizo customers. In fact, I've said I seem a minority of one at least once.

But I do maintain that when the 3.0 Monster Manual was released, the most common comment made, beyond the formatting issue, was about the omission of the ecology and society flavor text. These paragraphs appeared in the 2e Monstrous Manual and Compendiums and some people wanted them back.

This was part of a very big debate about Crunch v. Fluff in Wizards early 3.0 products. This was epitomized by the anonymous (though maybe people since have figured out who wrote it) memo that talked about how Wizard treated fluff and crunch. I can't imagine that I'm the only one that remembers this. If you think the majority of gamers were on the side of Wizards, then we were hanging out in different groups I guess.

If you don't think I'm right, that's your prerogative. I don't have statistical evidence backing this point up. This issue was still prevalent when I became active on the Wizards forums after purchasing the 3.0 FR Campaign Setting, and I thought the majority opinion was pretty settled. And the reapparance of 2e-style flavor text in monster products seemed to back up what I thought (and I think). But again, if you think I'm wrong, then so be it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

jscott991 wrote:
I actually meant the 384 page Monstrous Manual which compiled all the Compendiums. That's an unfortunate typo, since it lent itself to a very simple rebuttal focused only on the loose-leaf page concept rather than the substance of the book.

In that case, I should point out that the 384 page Monstrous Manual did not come out at 2nd edition's launch. It came out four years AFTER the launch. Having been at ground zero of the launch of two edition changes (first 3rd edition at WotC and now Pathfinder at Paizo) I can report with accuracy that launching a game takes a lot of work. It takes everyone working together and all hands on deck. And it requires a paring down of content—you can't immediately produce a new edition of everything that the previous edition had.

In the case of the 384 Monstrous Manual, I very much suspect that the fact that they weren't creating those monsters from scratch was a KEY FACTOR in allowing such a huge book to be printed in the first place.

So yeah... the book you hold up as the pinnacle of Monster Book design came out four years after the edition's launch. A lot can happen in four years.


What your missing is it's simply not doable in the first monster book. It's job is to get as many critters as it can into the hands of GM's. Even wotc did not do this in the first book. You can in later books maybe all in how many critters you are willing to leave on the cutting room floor

Paizo Employee Creative Director

jscott991 wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Aaaand because the 3ed statblock is three times as big as 2ed statblock (yes I did my math, a Basilisk statblock in 3.5 has circa 400 letters, the 2ed statblock has 130).
This is not a good thing.

One more thing... keep in mind that the "flavor text" in 2nd edition wasn't all flavor text. A significant portion of it was details on monster attacks and the like... info that's now contained wihtin the stat block. 2nd edition stat blocks would have been a lot longer if they'd put the monster's Combat section in the stat block.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:
jscott991 wrote:
I actually meant the 384 page Monstrous Manual which compiled all the Compendiums. That's an unfortunate typo, since it lent itself to a very simple rebuttal focused only on the loose-leaf page concept rather than the substance of the book.

In that case, I should point out that the 384 page Monstrous Manual did not come out at 2nd edition's launch. It came out four years AFTER the launch. Having been at ground zero of the launch of two edition changes (first 3rd edition at WotC and now Pathfinder at Paizo) I can report with accuracy that launching a game takes a lot of work. It takes everyone working together and all hands on deck. And it requires a paring down of content—you can't immediately produce a new edition of everything that the previous edition had.

In the case of the 384 Monstrous Manual, I very much suspect that the fact that they weren't creating those monsters from scratch was a KEY FACTOR in allowing such a huge book to be printed in the first place.

So yeah... the book you hold up as the pinnacle of Monster Book design came out four years after the edition's launch. A lot can happen in four years.

And as a little aside, I'm pretty sure it is not a compilation of all the Compendiums :) My Monstrous Compendium collection which I believe to be complete, is three three ring binders, each two inches wide ... I think it might be a compilation of the first three MCs, which were the setting neutral ones. Set four started with Greyhawk, and after that they all went to setting specific. Just an FYI.

Contributor

James Jacobs wrote:
jscott991 wrote:

It's amazing to me that in its 20th anniversary, the Monstrous Compendium of 1989 remains, by far, the best monster book ever produced.

Why we can't equal that book (which also used, for the most part, 1 page layouts) 20 years later and despite no fewer than 4 separate attempts (3.e, 3.5, 4.0, and the Bestiary) is beyond me.

Partially because the game has moved in a different direction over the past 20 years. Partially because a book in the format of the original Monstrous Compendium (loose leaf with one monster per page) was too fragile and prone to falling apart or losing components. Partially because a book in that format would have been more expensive to produce than a normal book. Partially because we chose to run our art larger than the art in that book was run.

jscott991 wrote:
I expected something else from the Bestiary. I didn't get it. I'm now being told I'm never going to get it. I don't like softcover books and I don't like short books. So despite my initial enthusiasm, I guess Pathfinder is a dead end for me.
We can't please everyone all of the time. I"m sorry the direction we took with the layout of the Bestiary and the sizes of the flavor books aren't what you're looking for, but they're doing well enough overall that it's not going to change in the future.

I remember the Monstrous Compendium. That was the large ring-binder tome where the illustrations and other important stuff was printed in copy blue so people couldn't Xerox it, even the original owners to make a back up. I never purchased one and stayed with my 1st edition books until 3.0.

But comparing the Pathfinder Bestiary to other editions, I should note that there's not only more description, there's more useful description.

Take this one-line description from the 4e Monster Manual:

Quote:
Renowned for their grace and beauty, {insert name} hail from the Feywild and are sometimes called to the natural world to guard forests and lakes.

Is this a description or a riddle? Aren't most Fey creatures "renowned for their grace and beauty" by definition, so this text adds nothing useful? Um, and guards forests and lakes.... Okay, "What is a wood nymph or water nymph, Alex?" No? Why not?

Compare the Pathfinder one-line description for the same creature:

Quote:
This magnificent beast looks like a white horse, but with a goat’s beard and a single long ivory horn on its brow.

Oh, okay. Now, personally, I go with the more classic cloven-hoofed variety, but "What is a unicorn, Alex!"

And guarding lakes? What exactly is a unicorn going to do about a lake monster apart from sanitizing its home?

Personally, I'm rather glad to have the Golarion flavor text left out of the Bestiary. While I happen to like Golarion, I'm not running a Golarion-based game, so Golarion-specific information is as useless to me as the assorted business 3.5 had about Eberron and Forgotten Realms. Saying that a monster is "Common in Kingdom W, created by wizard X or god Y, and used by general Z in his armies" is basically useless if you are not using Kingdom W, Wizard X, God Y or General Z. Far more useful to say that a monster favors a particular type of terrain, is used in the armies some other school of general, and is thought to have been made by a certain sort of sorcerer or some particular variety of god.

I mean, let's say you want to take Sleipnir from Norse mythology and make a breed of eight-legged horses with a few other magical abilities. If you're not using the the Norse pantheon, the info that the first one came about from the god Loki turning into a mare and seducing a troll's warhorse to delay a construction project? Not really useful aside from a folklore sidebar if you have room for it.

The monthly pathfinders do have more room, so if you really want a Monstrous Compendium, best bet is to get the PDFs and have pages printed at the local copy shop on some reasonably sturdy stock.


I actually thought 4E monster manual was great. It was the only part of 4E I did like.

I like the idea that fluff is light for monster in the Monster Manual. To me that's how it should be. It gives me the freedom to make that monster fit my campaign world. It also leave it free for Paizo to put out books detailing their campaign world specifics for monster in the Adventure Paths and Chronicles.

Contributor

Two quick points:

1) It's not just Pathfinder Adventure Path and the Revisted line that give more fluff on monsters... these days, almost all of the new monsters in Pathfinder Modules or the Pathfinder Chronicles lines receive two-page write-ups as well.

2) When we were first planning the Bestiary, we had this same conversation. Personally, I value fluff more than crunch when I'm reading through a book (though I'll settle for some juicy and unique special abilities!). But if we gave every monster a two-page write-up, we wouldn't have been able to print half the monsters. This is especially important when you consider that, like the Monster Manual back in the Dungeon days, the Bestiary is the only monster book that we expect people to have on hand when they're playing a Paizo adventure (meaning we don't reprint their full stat blocks). If we had expanded entries but limited our selection, it would mean that *every Paizo product* going forward would lose valuable new content in favor of reprinted stat blocks... a loss that would just keep adding up as the years rolled on. So utility was key with our monster selection, as was quality art, but as one of the authors I hope that there's still enough flavor there to hook you in. (And I can definitely say that, with many of the monsters I worked on, we certainly provided more flavor than the SRD/MM... I can't tell you how many hours I spent combing mythology articles on Wikipedia.)

And as a GM, I think the one-per-page format is badass.

So in summary: I understand and share your concerns, but it was not a thoughtless decision, and in the long run I think it's poised to make sure you get MORE value out of all our other books.

1 to 50 of 99 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Paizo Products / Product Discussion / The Bestiary Reminds Me of the 3e and 4e Monster Manuals All Messageboards