Statistics & Creation of creatures in Adventure Paths

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Hello everyone,

Recently, during a month or two, I have been redesigning certain villains, monsters and NPC's in a Adventure Path of Rise of the Runelords. Often enough, statistics match and I always check the original creature and compare it with newly created one, but even more often statistics are way of the usual creation of a creature.

What exactly am I talking about? I am talking about different monster stat arrays. Some NPC's seem to be built around 20 point buy rather then 15 point buy stat array without increase in CR and while this isn't the only thing that comes to my mind right now, it seems most influencing one.

This isn't exactly a problem, but is more a question of pure curiosity. How are creatures made in Adventure Paths? What warrant's an increase in CR and what doesn't? What point buy is used?

Thanks upfront for answers and any links to where I am might find the answers are welcome,


Sovereign Court Developer

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NPCs in Adventure Paths are not usually built using point buy. Instead, they are given the "heroic array" of stats (Core Rulebook p.451), provided they have levels in a PC class: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. This is equivalent to, though not exactly the same as, a 15-point buy. (Characters with only NPC class levels use the "basic array": 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, which doesn't really equate to the point buy rules used to create PCs). Monsters with class levels start with the same heroic array, adjusted by their racial ability bonuses (i.e., the difference between their published stat in a score and 10 or 11, depending on whether the score is even or odd). Occasionally, we'll give specific villains stat boosts or use a higher point buy. This usually increases their CR, and both the way the method used to create its stats and the CR adjustment is detailed in the Special Abilities section of the NPC's stat block.


@Rob McCreary
Rob, thanks for answers! Perhaps I should have mentioned that I meant on heroic array instead of mentioning a regular 15 point buy. My mistake there.

In 95% of cases, I always assume that NPC's have heroic array (15,14,13,12,10,8) if they have levels in PC class and I usually remake NPC's with those statistics in mind, however recently each NPC in book 5, Sins of the Saviors

Slight RotR Spoiler:
(especially the Azlanti humanoids of the Runeforge)
seem to have much higher array of statistics. It's often hard to guess what writer included there and what he didn't, but a simple look tells me that either higher array of ability scores were used, or there is additional racial bonuses which aren't mentioned anywhere.

So my curiosity got the best of me and I am trying to get those same numbers that writer did, albeit in vain so far.


Sovereign Court

Azlanti are a different case tho, not sure if you read about them but Azlanti humans have +2 to every stats.


Can you provide a link maybe or mention from what book is it? I tried searching for this info, but couldn't find anything.

Sovereign Court

Inner world sea guide p. 12.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Azlantis gain a +2 bonus to every ability score, as folks have noted. Inner Seas World Guide has the details. This bonus isn't in and of itself enough to increase a creature's CR (Note that the Advanced Template DOUBLES this and throws a natural armor bonus in on top of that, and all of that is still only a +1 CR modifier).

So building off Rob's example, an Azlanti would have a base array of 17, 16, 15, 14, 12, 10.

Note also that some of those characters also increased their stats via the effects of aging or wishes or other methods; in those cases we do try to indicate that in the stat block.

As for what warrants a CR adjustment...

It all boils down to how the monster's FINAL STATS match up against the various numbers on table 1–1 in the Bestiary. No matter what you do to create those stats, no matter how many class levels or templates or whatever you put on there... you should be ready to just change the CR of a creature to match the closest category on that table, regardless of what the CR math of adding together levels and templates might suggest. As the Bestiary says, it's fine for one of these numbers (hit points, AC, attacks, damage, ability DCs, saves) is higher than expected, but if they're all over the place, you need to pick the CR that's the most appropriate for that monster or adjust ability scores or other elements of the stat block to make things fit better.


Thanks everyone,
This explains a lot. It has been bugging me for months.

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