NPC Guide Stat Block Format Question


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In some of the Stat Block you put the "Spells Prepared" block before any "Spell-Like Abilities" block (i.e. p.46 Umbral Flagellant). Others it is the reverse (p.45 Walkena Priest)
I always go off the order in the Bestiary (p.6 Introduction Stat Block section) which has all "Spell-Like Abilities" then "Spells Prepared."

I know it seems pedantic but could you make it consistent?
My Stat Block parsing program will thank you too.

Thanks

Paizo Employee Creative Director

chopswil wrote:

In some of the Stat Block you put the "Spells Prepared" block before any "Spell-Like Abilities" block (i.e. p.46 Umbral Flagellant). Others it is the reverse (p.45 Walkena Priest)

I always go off the order in the Bestiary (p.6 Introduction Stat Block section) which has all "Spell-Like Abilities" then "Spells Prepared."

I know it seems pedantic but could you make it consistent?
My Stat Block parsing program will thank you too.

Thanks

We normally should be putting spell-like abilities before spells prepared/known. Putting them out of order is an error, but not a game-breaking one fortunately.

Contributor

Except for class-based spell-like abilities like the Umbral Flagellant's domain spell-like abilities IMO....

Grand Lodge

Personally I would prefer them always in the same order, regardless of where the abilities come from. Simply for consistency. When in the middle of a game I really don't like hunting around for the info I need because it varies. And if it varies due to class abilities then, there is justification to vary due to other reasons to. Before long a half dozen ways of listing them.

Please, just one consistent order.

And yes, not a game breaking thing at all. Heck I hadn't even noticed it! :)

Contributor

It depends on what you mean by "the same order."

A human sorcerer is going to have sorcerer spells known and sorcerer spell-like abilities. You can decide which of those is listed first.

Then take something like a drow or gnome sorcerer, which (in addition to the above) has racial spell-like abilities. Do you put its racial SLAs first, or put them near its class SLAs? Or do you keep its class spells known and class SLAs next to each other?

Then you can have multiclassed cleric/sorcerers or sorcerer/wizards, which have two sets of spells and two sets of SLAs. What's the preferred order for that?

Then you can have magical spellcasting creatures like lillends, angels, and nagas; throw in some multiclassing on them and you have racial SLAs, racial spellcasting, class SLAs (perhaps from multiple classes), and class spellcasting (perhaps from multiple classes).

Then pile on some templates. A half-fiend drow sorcerer cleric is going to have drow SLAs, half-fiend SLAs, sorcerer SLAs, cleric SLAs, sorcerer spellcasting, and cleric spellcasting, each of which has different caster levels and concentration check values. Just try sorting that mess out. ;)

It's not like you're trying to find a creature's CMD and it's in a different place every stat block; there's a broad middle section of the stat block where you have SLAs and spellcasting, and if a creature has both it's not like you're going to lose track of one or the other, regardless of the order; the fact that the entries under SLA and spellcasting are indented is deliberate and helps your eye find lists of options for the creature.

Mind you, because we build our stat blocks with my spreadsheet, the things *do* fall in a particular order, but the question of "which of these five sub-table of spellish things comes first and last?" is, as Wes calls it, "one of those things that only the editors care about," and having an hour-long discussion at the office about whether it's better to do halffiendSLA/drowSLA/clericSLA/sorcererSLA/clericspells/sorcererspells or halffiendSLA/drowSLA/clericSLA/clericspells/sorcererSLA/sorcererspells or even clericspells/sorcererspells/halffiendSLA/drowSLA/clericSLA/sorcererSLA is wasting time we could be using to actually *finish* books and get them off to the printer.

Grand Lodge

lol Wow talk about over doing it!

umm in the examples listed above absolutely none of that nonsense is even relevant... see in both examples we have Domain Spell Like Abilities and Prepared Spells... nothing else. Why clutter it up with such nonsense?

No need to get mega defensive and wacky with all that stuff above...

But since you bring it up... drow SLAs, Half-fiend SLAs, Sorcer SLAs, cleric SLAs all in the same character as an example... which order do they get listed in???? Major stress time here!

ummm try something truly amazing... alphabetical order? I do NOT want to have to hunt through every SLA just to find the one I need right now, because I don't know what order is being used with this particular character... I want to find the ability I want right now, not in five minutes. Best way to do that is alphabetical order.

Hey guess what... it's simple after all!

and you thought it was something that was complicated :)

BTW I usually find that when a Director says it is an error, that undermining him and saying "no you are wrong" is usually not the best job-keeping thing to do in the long run. But hey, that is just my opinion :)

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Then you can have magical spellcasting creatures like lillends, angels, and nagas; throw in some multiclassing on them and you have racial SLAs, racial spellcasting, class SLAs (perhaps from multiple classes), and class spellcasting (perhaps from multiple classes).

I think I'm going to have to stat one of these up ... just to say I did it. (And my poor schedule cries over in the corner when it thinks about how many other things I want to do when "whenever I have the time.")

Contributor

Krome wrote:
ummm try something truly amazing... alphabetical order? I do NOT want to have to hunt through every SLA just to find the one I need right now, because I don't know what order is being used with this particular character... I want to find the ability I want right now, not in five minutes. Best way to do that is alphabetical order.

I'm not getting mega-defensive and wacky; my stat block spreadsheet CAN build a crazy character like the one I mentioned, and that has things in a particular order, but whether that is the "right" order is a matter of opinion.

And like I said, you can't list all the SLAs in the same chunk of text because they may have different caster levels and concentration values.

And alphabetical order doesn't necessarily work for spells known and spells prepared because if a creature only has one casting class, we just say Spells Known or Spells Prepared, but if it has multiple casting classes, we say {CLASSNAME} Spells Known or {CLASSNAME} spell prepared. Trust me, I'm a BIG fan of alphabetical order (it's one of my directives in my Freelancer Advice and Punishments document, and includes a "sample alphabet" for those who've forgotten the order of the letters), but at some point we have to accept that the person reading the stat block is a person, not a robot, and has higher-level knowledge-sorting skills than a simple machine, and if confronted by a section that says "Spells Known" and another that says "Spell-Like Abilities," they'll know which one to read in detail whether or not they're in alpha order.

And because if we do go out of our way to list them in alphabetical order every single time, and we miss one of them, someone's going to say that one stat block is "wrong" and demand that it be listed in the errata. Because, seriously, listing SLA's after Spells Prepared in one stat block is a "horrendous" error, on par with not listing domains for your campaign setting's deities. :p


James Jacobs wrote:
We normally should be putting spell-like abilities before spells prepared/known. Putting them out of order is an error, but not a game-breaking one fortunately.

Except when it's dark, and you're likely to be eaten by an Arcane Grue. They're immune to all spells cast by anyone that has Spells Prepared/Known before Spell-Like Abilities.

(They're just before the Bearbear in the Deadline Monsters Revisited, in case you're trying to find the stats for it.)

Grand Lodge

lol sorry then

I don't care WHAT the order is as long as there is some consistency.

Switching the location of things just "because" is frustrating. If there is a reason for it to go in place "X" then cool. But when things are the same between characters as the example was, switching things around can get confusing. You expect to find ability Y right there, but nope, look elsewhere for this critter.

So on SLA different caster levels and such... the way I type them up for my own use, I list them alphabetically, but after the name (which I bold so I can find it quickly from the rest of the text) I list in parenthesis the applicable numbers, then the description of the ability. I follow that format for every ability entry, regardless of SLA or what ever, simply because it is easy for me to find the ability I need, the numbers I may need, and the description of the ability.

Now this is just me and it works great for me. I DO NOT EXPECT you to do that.

I guess, what I am asking for is there to be rhyme and reason, and not just randomly placed for no reason at all. That is really all I mean :)

I really don't mean for this to be such a drawn out issue :) Really I don't! It isn't THAT big a deal at all.

Contributor

It's not randomly placed, though; SLAs, Spells Known, and Spells Prepared are ALWAYS in the OFFENSE section, listed after the Special Attacks. I agree it would suck if sometimes SLAs were at the bottom of the stat block (after Skills and such) and sometimes elsewhere--which is why we don't do that. :)

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I'm not getting mega-defensive and wacky; my stat block spreadsheet CAN build a crazy character like the one I mentioned, and that has things in a particular order, but whether that is the "right" order is a matter of opinion.

Any chance of us finding out what that order is? I'd love to know; I spend a lot of time making custom monsters (your examples were meant to be over-the-top, but are normal for me:), and if they're in the same order as published stuff that would be a big win for me in terms of mental effort looking at stat blocks.

Contributor

SLAs
Arcane School SLAs
Domain SLAs
Rogue SLAs
Spells Known
Spells Prepared
Bard Spells
Cleric Spells
Druid Spells
Paladin Spells
Ranger Spells
Sorcerer Spells
Wizard Spells

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

SLAs

Arcane School SLAs
Domain SLAs
Rogue SLAs
Spells Known
Spells Prepared
Bard Spells
Cleric Spells
Druid Spells
Paladin Spells
Ranger Spells
Sorcerer Spells
Wizard Spells

Great!

Edit: One question - the list has "Spells Known" and "Spells Prepared" before all the class spells. Does that imply creature spells known/prepared, and then for a category such as Wizard Spells, that would in turn contain "Wizard Spells Prepared" then "Wizard Spells Known" (clearly Cleric implies prepared)?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

gbonehead wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

SLAs

Arcane School SLAs
Domain SLAs
Rogue SLAs
Spells Known
Spells Prepared
Bard Spells
Cleric Spells
Druid Spells
Paladin Spells
Ranger Spells
Sorcerer Spells
Wizard Spells

Great!

Edit: One question - the list has "Spells Known" and "Spells Prepared" before all the class spells. Does that imply creature spells known/prepared, and then for a category such as Wizard Spells, that would in turn contain "Wizard Spells Prepared" then "Wizard Spells Known" (clearly Cleric implies prepared)?

It does indeed imply creature spells known. Or oracle spells. Or technomancer spells. Or, frankly, ANY class of spells. You'd still alphabetize them by class, anyway.

Contributor

As my spreadsheet doesn't address any APG classes yet, those first two sections are for racial casting (like what angels, lillends, and certain other creatures have).

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
As my spreadsheet doesn't address any APG classes yet, those first two sections are for racial casting (like what angels, lillends, and certain other creatures have).

Okay, that's what I thought.

In regards to James' comment, I figured any non-listed class spells would be placed in alphabetical order, so I didn't mention 'em :)


chopswil wrote:
My Stat Block parsing program will thank you too.

What Stat Block parsing program do you use, and can you provide a link? I'm hoping for something that has configurable output, since I'm using an archaic program for my own bookeeping (DMGenie) that takes the old old 3.5 stat-block format for input. I was hoping to be able unleash a parser on the PRD and get a slew of importable stat-blocks. (My only two alternatives would be to write a perl script to do it myself or to do it by hand.)

Thanks for any help that anyone can offer.

~Doskious

Dark Archive

Doskious Steele wrote:
chopswil wrote:
My Stat Block parsing program will thank you too.

What Stat Block parsing program do you use, and can you provide a link? ...

Thanks for any help that anyone can offer.

~Doskious

I wrote it myself using C# and SQL Server.

If someone would be willing to host it I'd be open to doing so.
The output usually goes to a DB entry, but either an .html or .xml file could be generated too.

You can see some of the output results on Pathfinder SRD in the Monster, Spell and Magic Item DBs.

There is one DB not hosted there, the Stat Block DB which has the SB from the AP and modules in it.

Now I'm working on a Stat Block Validator that looks at Feats, Skill Points ,etc. in a SB to make sure they are correct.


chopswil wrote:
Doskious Steele wrote:
chopswil wrote:
My Stat Block parsing program will thank you too.

What Stat Block parsing program do you use, and can you provide a link? ...

Thanks for any help that anyone can offer.

~Doskious

I wrote it myself using C# and SQL Server.

If someone would be willing to host it I'd be open to doing so.
The output usually goes to a DB entry, but either an .html or .xml file could be generated too.

You can see some of the output results on Pathfinder SRD in the Monster, Spell and Magic Item DBs.

There is one DB not hosted there, the Stat Block DB which has the SB from the AP and modules in it.

Now I'm working on a Stat Block Validator that looks at Feats, Skill Points ,etc. in a SB to make sure they are correct.

Honestly, having an output to a database would be fine, I think, since it should be a simple matter for me to work up something that takes a database of monsters and spits out the information in the right order into a text file.

Sounds like I should try to use the database file(s) at d20pfsrd.com to have a go at this though, before pestering you (or anyone) for a custom solution. Thanks for toe tip!

I have to say that a Validation function sounds exceptionally nifty! Thanks so much!

~Doskious

Dark Archive

Doskious Steele wrote:


I have to say that a Validation function sounds exceptionally nifty! Thanks so much!

~Doskious

Just so you know, I won't change a Stat Block based on my validation checks, I just submit them to Paizo.


James Jacobs wrote:
Or technomancer spells.

Is this a hint for the future? When will we see a technomancer class? And how easy is it to spark rampant speculation on a messageboard?


Jonathon Vining wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Or technomancer spells.
Is this a hint for the future? When will we see a technomancer class? And how easy is it to spark rampant speculation on a messageboard?

Easier than falling off a log, it turns out! (I have double-blind study results!) (I also have 2 old 3.5-era 3rd party technomancer-type classes, one base, one PrC, but that's besides the point.)

chopswil wrote:
Just so you know, I won't change a Stat Block based on my validation checks, I just submit them to Paizo.

Oh no, naturally, but if you do eventually end up hosting these tools somewhere, I'd love to get my hands on the Validation one - I can't count the number of times that I've wanted to change something, usually a feat, in a complex NPC but wasn't sure if there was a way to effect the change without breaking the build. Also, it'd be handy to be able to run something like that on character builds that I get handed if I start a game beyond level 1. Or something...

~Doskious

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