Monsters not following pc's rules


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I was always a believer in monsters following the same rules as pc's and I disliked 4th editions treatment of the matter.
Nowdays though I think the whole matter is a false dichotomy. What really matters is monsters following rules that make narrative sense. For example fire elementals being immune to fire, dragons flying etc. Stuff that narratively or storywise the monsters should be able to do.
I still like for the monster to have ability scores to get a feel for what its capable of, but no need for the monster to follow class levels progression and abilties.
What I still don't like are arbitrary abilities, like a boss monsters gets extra actions just because its a "boss" monster. Again I am ok with a marilith using an action to make multiple attacks because it has multiple arms and can tactically use them, but I don't like arbitrary abilities.
Or a monster having magic items that it can use but is not using them because they are "loot". Again if there is a story/roleplay reason for why its not using an item I am ok with it.

What path does PF 2.0 seem to be following?


After all I read I think the monster rules are pretty close to the PC rules. There are racial ... levels I guess, and unique abilities
Since there are no specific boss monsters in the classical bestiaries I wouldn't expect them to get them just for fun (rather, like in the marilith example, extra actions based on ther physiology and abilites)

And magic items (and therefore possible loot items) they are using, well I think that is gm stuff in the end


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John John wrote:

I was always a believer in monsters following the same rules as pc's and I disliked 4th editions treatment of the matter.

I know it's old news, but only 1 edition out of 5 has treated monsters like PCs, so there is absolutely no legacy reason for monsters to be built as PCs.


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Weather Report wrote:
John John wrote:

I was always a believer in monsters following the same rules as pc's and I disliked 4th editions treatment of the matter.

I know it's old news, but only 1 edition out of 5 has treated monsters like PCs, so there is absolutely no legacy reason for monsters to be built as PCs.

But that one edition is the longest actively supported edition. More to the point, Pathfinder is based on the legacy of that edition.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mekkis wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
John John wrote:

I was always a believer in monsters following the same rules as pc's and I disliked 4th editions treatment of the matter.

I know it's old news, but only 1 edition out of 5 has treated monsters like PCs, so there is absolutely no legacy reason for monsters to be built as PCs.
But that one edition is the longest actively supported edition. More to the point, Pathfinder is based on the legacy of that edition.

Wait are we talking about 3.x? Because the monster creation rules are in no way working the same as PCs. The devs have repeatedly said that most of the monsters you see, they use the system to get close and then fudge the rest to get the numbers where they want. That +x natural armour bonus isn't because of any rule, its because they needed the monster to have 32AC and after all the other modifiers it only got to 27.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

On terms of the Monster not using loot that is actually explained better naturally in PF2E. You can only use so much magic stuff because of Resonance!

Silver Crusade

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

They use the same framework as the PCs, so they do use some of the rules. It gives the appearance that they use the same rules. The presentation, that’s the sticking point.


Monsters have never followed the same rules as PC's. They have pretended to, but the reality is they simply haven't.

"Oh! this critter needs an extra feat, we can't give it 2 more HD without messing with the planned CR. I know, we'll just give it a bonus feat..."


Mekkis wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
John John wrote:

I was always a believer in monsters following the same rules as pc's and I disliked 4th editions treatment of the matter.

I know it's old news, but only 1 edition out of 5 has treated monsters like PCs, so there is absolutely no legacy reason for monsters to be built as PCs.
But that one edition is the longest actively supported edition.

Not true, and let's break it down:

1st Ed: 1977-1989.
2nd Ed: 1989-2000.
3.0: 2000-2003.
3.5: 2003-2008.
4th Ed: 2008-2012.
PF1: 2008-2018.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Don't get into Edition Wars. The mods will remove your posts.

Liberty's Edge

John John wrote:
What path does PF 2.0 seem to be following?

From what we've seen monsters absolutely do have the abilities you would expect them to have logically (ie: Fire Elementals are immune to fire), and do not get special abilities for being a 'boss' (some get special abilities that make them better suited to that, like a Marlith getting the ability to attack 6 people in a turn, but as you note, she gets that due to having 6 arms and a legacy of using 6 weapons rather than due to being arbitrarily declared a 'boss').

There's also every evidence of them using their treasure being a viable and reasonable thing to do.

In short, they seem to meet your qualifications pretty much perfectly (despite not technically following PC creation rules).


Just going to throw out there that some of the best boss fights I've experienced as a player in recent memory came from the Dead Suns AP from Starfinder, which uses monster rules divorced from PC rules.


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I feel like the distinction between "a monster-only ability that makes narrative sense" and "a monster-only ability that is arbitrarily granted to the monster because it needs to meet some qualifications" is sorta meaningless.

I mean, we could always justify "this particular fae has a natural armor bonus and bonus feats" by constructing a narrative around it- about how it's a great warrior covered in chitinous plates, or something.

If a monster can do something, per its bestiary entry, we can always explain why or how that came to be.


I just need to know what happens if I give an ogre a battleaxe and chain mail instead of the club and hide it gets in the Bestiary. In 1e you had to guess.

Liberty's Edge

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Mudfoot wrote:
I just need to know what happens if I give an ogre a battleaxe and chain mail instead of the club and hide it gets in the Bestiary. In 1e you had to guess.

Well, given that we have the stats for their armor and weapons, replacing those should be easy enough to do in PF2.


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Mudfoot wrote:
I just need to know what happens if I give an ogre a battleaxe and chain mail instead of the club and hide it gets in the Bestiary. In 1e you had to guess.

I don't recall any guessing in PF1E to that effect. Swap damage dice, remove one armor value and apply the other instead.

____

Anyway, I sincerely hope there's a way to compare monsters reasonably to PCs.


Mudfoot wrote:
I just need to know what happens if I give an ogre a battleaxe and chain mail instead of the club and hide it gets in the Bestiary. In 1e you had to guess.

I keep seeing this from time to time so I have to ask.

What SHOULD happen?

Liberty's Edge

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MerlinCross wrote:

I keep seeing this from time to time so I have to ask.

What SHOULD happen?

For verisimilitude it's stats should change just like a PC's would.

Luckily, this seems totally workable in PF2.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

I keep seeing this from time to time so I have to ask.

What SHOULD happen?

For verisimilitude it's stats should change just like a PC's would.

Luckily, this seems totally workable in PF2.

I mean yeah but such a question seems like it's asking for something more than numbers changed.

To me, an Ogre with a greataxe just has a bigger damage hit die and if wearing chainmail, has different AC.

So what does one need to guess about this? PF1, change the monsters stats. In PF2 you'd also change the stats right?

Shadow Lodge

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I am imagining the is asking if the creature's CR changes and by how much.


Serum wrote:
I am imagining the is asking if the creature's CR changes and by how much.

Personally I think changing weapons and armor to be such a minor change that it doesn't really matter.

Start giving them Magic gear then and maybe we run into problems but CR seems to be such a loose number/rule.

I don't expect giving a PF2 Ogre the same gear would suddenly up it to the next CR/Level/Difficulty number.

Silver Crusade

Oh, you would hate my GMing style; outside of PFS my monsters rarely even follow stat blocks that closely


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Eh Equipment can make a difference. I've seen it happen a DM put full plate on a monster with natural armor and make it almost un-hittable resulting in a TPK.

Way I'm looking at it is If I want them to fight PC's I can make them or if I want to be lazy I can use the monster rules for speeds sake so I'm ok with it.


Do we need actual stats for the armor the ogre is wearing? Can't one just bump up the AC a few points and describe the ogre as "wearing a bunch of rusty iron plates nailed together" or however is appropriate?

I already chafe at the idea of there being a complete taxonomy of weapons and armor PCs can use, I don't thing we need a taxonomy of ogre stuff. It's not like PCs need to be able to resell the weapons and armor ogres use, since who would want it?


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like the distinction between "a monster-only ability that makes narrative sense" and "a monster-only ability that is arbitrarily granted to the monster because it needs to meet some qualifications" is sorta meaningless.

I mean, we could always justify "this particular fae has a natural armor bonus and bonus feats" by constructing a narrative around it- about how it's a great warrior covered in chitinous plates, or something.

If a monster can do something, per its bestiary entry, we can always explain why or how that came to be.

The way you put it the rules are primary and the lore secondary. IMO the lore is where the fun comes out and the rules job is to support that.

Doing the opposite and saying hey lets make things up to support the rules, might be fun sometimes for creative purposes but overall ends in breaking immersion to the game and can make things silly.

Also I am concerned about stuff like legendary saving throws for Tiamat in dnd 5e (actually tiamat as a whole isn't such a bad design and I like her legendary actions, but I would like to talk about a specific ability). She can auto save X times per day.
Yes you can say she has some deific power that functions x time per day or even that at some point she ate the 3 paladin maidens of Torm and helds their bodies in her belly consuming ones energy to automatically succeed in a save, but it still feels forced to me and I think players will eventually feel the disconnect of such abilities.


John John wrote:

Also I am concerned about stuff like legendary saving throws for Tiamat in dnd 5e (actually tiamat as a whole isn't such a bad design and I like her legendary actions, but I would like to talk about a specific ability). She can auto save X times per day.

Yes you can say she has some deific power that functions x time per day or even that at some point she ate the 3 paladin maidens of Torm and helds their bodies in her belly consuming ones energy to automatically succeed in a save, but it still feels forced to me and I think players will eventually feel the disconnect of such abilities.

The auto-save 3/day thing is available to all Legendary monsters in 5th Ed, and yeah, it does cause problems for some, and I can see why. Can start the players meta-gaming.


dragonhunterq wrote:

Monsters have never followed the same rules as PC's. They have pretended to, but the reality is they simply haven't.

"Oh! this critter needs an extra feat, we can't give it 2 more HD without messing with the planned CR. I know, we'll just give it a bonus feat..."

This is a red herring. It exaggerates an issue with the type-based HD that could trivially be solved by altering HD based on role rather than type.

It's like saying "This class needs additional feats to remain on the power curve. I know, we'll give it access to bonus feats every even level".

When monsters "pretend to" follow the same rules as PCs, it forces the universe into a consistent state, independent of CR. It means that a GM has a basis for saying "Your blow is deflected by the dragon's scaly hide" rather than "The nymph jumps out of the way of your axe"

It is also clear what happens when a given monster is affected by something that affects its stats - either by changing an ability score or applying a particular bonus or penalty to an attribute.

Conversely, when values such as attack bonus, save bonus, skill modifier etc are directly based of CR, it feels completely artificial and demoralising.

Liberty's Edge

Mekkis wrote:
Conversely, when values such as attack bonus, save bonus, skill modifier etc are directly based of CR, it feels completely artificial and demoralising.

Which would be why monsters have level instead of CR now, and level gives bonuses to all of these for everyone, PC and Creature alike.


Mekkis wrote:


Conversely, when values such as attack bonus, save bonus, skill modifier etc are directly based of CR, it feels completely artificial and demoralising.

No. Improper justifications are what does that. Monster that pretend to follow the same rules as PCs and those that do not can both feel artificial and unreal if they have not been properly justified by rules and/or fluff.

Liberty's Edge

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There's multiple different levels of this conversation. There's monsters (as in completely non-human beasts), and there's NPCs (as in humanoid-esque foes), and there's boss monsters.

In terms of monstrous monsters, there's no reason they should function remotely like PCs. A dragon shouldn't have to worry about feats, ability score boosts, bonus skill ranks, and saving throws increases because it's Hit Dice increased.

***

Bosses

I'm a big fan of legendary monsters in 5e. Because it's not just a case of "boss monsters get extra actions" but "creatures of legend get more actions". It's as much tied to story. It's not some monster gaining special powers because of its role in the adventure, like minions or elites in 4e.

But, yes, legendary monsters exist as they do for game reasons. Because *gasp* this IS a game. It needs to function as a game and play reasonably smoothly. If the game aspect breaks down, it hurts the narrative.
Being able to stunlock the Big Bad Evil Guy doesn't serve the narrative, as it causes the climax to be, well, anticlimactic. Nor does it serve the game as it's not fun. And, similarly, being able to gang up on the BBEG because you have five times as many turns and they can't counteract/ respond leads to awkward fights.

The game has responded by having lots of BBEGs partnered with mooks and allies, whether it makes sense or not. Just to prevent the PCs from focusing fire. Which works but slows things down dramatically as the DM is now managing a half-dozen creatures just to make the fight climactic.

***

NPCs

Yeah, the town guard shouldn't have amazing powers or maneuvers that the PC's fighter can't replicate, and the teacher of the local magician's academy shouldn't know spells that the party's wizard cannot cast. But the elite champion black knight could very easily know some moves or secret techniques that fighter doesn't, and an elder lich might have learned some arcane secrets in its centuries a common wizard can't replicate.

In Pathfinder 1 that would be as simple as giving that NPC a special feat or prestige class. But then you'd have to write-up that option and balance it just in case some PC finds it in the pfsrd and decides to take it. (Or make a funky magic item with some drawback as the party will just convert it into gold. But then you need to do that ever fun design and price it out.)
That's super needless design.
In practice, it's just as easy to give the NPC a unique trait or power that feels like it could be a feat.


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A "boss monster template" would be much more interesting then the overused "advanced template".


Mekkis wrote:
Conversely, when values such as attack bonus, save bonus, skill modifier etc are directly based of CR, it feels completely artificial and demoralising.

While I am not in the camp of monsters must follow the same rules as PCs, I am fine with it not working that way in Basic, AD&D, 4th, and 5th Ed; the egregious error on 5th Ed's part was basing proficiency bonus off of CR (and tying Athletics/Acrobatics to grappling/shoving). There is also a circular reference in figuring out a monster's CR/proficiency bonus in the 5th Ed DMG, compounding the issue.


Jester David wrote:

I'm a big fan of legendary monsters in 5e. Because it's not just a case of "boss monsters get extra actions" but "creatures of legend get more actions". It's as much tied to story. It's not some monster gaining special powers because of its role in the adventure, like minions or elites in 4e.

But, yes, legendary monsters exist as they do for game reasons. Because *gasp* this IS a game. It needs to function as a game and play reasonably smoothly. If the game aspect breaks down, it hurts the narrative.
Being able to stunlock the Big Bad Evil Guy doesn't serve the narrative, as it causes the climax to be, well, anticlimactic.

I agree with pretty much all of this, I really dig Legendary Actions, and I myself do not mind Legendary Saving Throws, but I have heard of it, and can see how it can cause some meta-game issues: players casting spells to eat through the 3 auto-saves, playing a game to see which ones the DM will choose to auto-save, sort of like bluffing. Also, in 5th Ed, stun-lock is not as much a thing as it is in 3rd Ed/PF1/4th Ed.


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I don't have a problem with how 5E did monsters, since their math does add up right.

The one thing that is unforgivable is the humanoid enemies/NPCs. The Knight has some cool abilties that PC cannot get, GOblins and Kobolds have powers that PC goblins or kobolds cannot get. The humanoid NPCs may be built different than PCs, but they should still try to be recognizable as PC classes.


ChibiNyan wrote:
The one thing that is unforgivable is the humanoid enemies/NPCs. The Knight has some cool abilties that PC cannot get, Goblins and Kobolds have powers that PC goblins or kobolds cannot get. The humanoid NPCs may be built different than PCs, but they should still try to be recognizable as PC classes.

This, this, this. A thousand times this. In a nutshell that is my biggest "berserk button" when regarding the 5E system (the other being number variables mapped to CR, not HD). PF2 should at least aim for this even after some simplification.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
I don't have a problem with how 5E did monsters, since their math does add up right.

Yes, it just unfortunately uses CR instead of HD for proficient bonus, and CR itself is far too nebulous to base something like that on, one party's CR 10 monster is another party's CR 3. PCs and some NPCs use HD/level, so should monsters, not the flaky CR system.

CR is basically "You should be this tall to ride.".


If the rules for monsters and PC are so different...then I suppose that using monsters as PC will be nearly impossible.

I try to like PF2, but its really difficult. That and the possible lack of 6/9 casters may be the breaking point for my party. A shame; there are many good mechanical changes on the system. But if we lose the possibility of the silly monster characters that my group loves so much...


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Could still be possible to have alternate rules for playing monsters. I don't think the current pathfinder rules do a great job of letting a player play a monster in the first place really.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Could still be possible to have alternate rules for playing monsters. I don't think the current pathfinder rules do a great job of letting a player play a monster in the first place really.

Yeah, and the Savage Species/ECL thing can be underwhelming.


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I use rite publishing 3rd party "in the company of" line for any of my monster to PC needs. And of course the 1 hit die monsters don't require it.


For 'bosses' or creatures of legend or in general monsters you want to buff up to make for an epic fight, or just to compensate the fact that you want them to fight alone against the group of PCs, my favourite solution is still giving them hero points.


I would have to see everything working but right now i'm expecting stuff like Double hp and give them an extra action maybe up saves a bit that kind of thing would work to make a monster more boss material. I'm expecting template really.


ChibiNyan wrote:
The one thing that is unforgivable is the humanoid enemies/NPCs. The Knight has some cool abilties that PC cannot get, GOblins and Kobolds have powers that PC goblins or kobolds cannot get. The humanoid NPCs may be built different than PCs, but they should still try to be recognizable as PC classes.

I find that easier to tolerate than the PF1 way of doing it. It's all very clever to create new enemies by giving class levels to goblinoids and demons, but in order to run the mooks in Jade Regent I had to constantly look up special monk abilities, samurai powers, feats, etc.

I don't find it much of a problem to accept different types of characters working in different ways.

A wizard PC can do things a commoner can't do, due to years of studying magic. A kobold NPC can use special teamwork abilities when fighting alongside other kobolds, because that's what he's learned to do instead of taking class levels. A knight NPC can use a special leadership ability, because that's what he learned instead of regular PC Fighter abilities. A boss has special abilities to take extra actions in a round because he's aided by the powers of the dark gods.

If a cool ability is impossible to get for PCs when it shouldn't be, that's more of a problem with lack of options for character building than a problem with NPC construction.


Matthew Downie wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
The one thing that is unforgivable is the humanoid enemies/NPCs. The Knight has some cool abilties that PC cannot get, GOblins and Kobolds have powers that PC goblins or kobolds cannot get. The humanoid NPCs may be built different than PCs, but they should still try to be recognizable as PC classes.

I find that easier to tolerate than the PF1 way of doing it. It's all very clever to create new enemies by giving class levels to goblinoids and demons, but in order to run the mooks in Jade Regent I had to constantly look up special monk abilities, samurai powers, feats, etc.

I don't find it much of a problem to accept different types of characters working in different ways.

A wizard PC can do things a commoner can't do, due to years of studying magic. A kobold NPC can use special teamwork abilities when fighting alongside other kobolds, because that's what he's learned to do instead of taking class levels. A knight NPC can use a special leadership ability, because that's what he learned instead of regular PC Fighter abilities. A boss has special abilities to take extra actions in a round because he's aided by the powers of the dark gods.

If a cool ability is impossible to get for PCs when it shouldn't be, that's more of a problem with lack of options for character building than a problem with NPC construction.

Bingo.

As for Legendary/Solo Monsters, some sort of template would be nice, you can extrapolate one from 5th Ed, but it would be nice if they went into more depth, and they don't even max HP, which irks me.


HP is already maxed because there is no HD.


Dragon78 wrote:
HP is already maxed because there is no HD.

Yes, in PF2 (and easily adjusted in 5th Ed), so, maybe double or more the HP.


I wonder if Con actually has any effect on monster HP at all. It is hard to tell considering how monsters stats are done now.


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Dragon78 wrote:
I wonder if Con actually has any effect on monster HP at all. It is hard to tell considering how monsters stats are done now.

Thats a good question. Why have some stats matter and others not right?

Liberty's Edge

Dragon78 wrote:
I wonder if Con actually has any effect on monster HP at all. It is hard to tell considering how monsters stats are done now.

It doesn't seem to. Ogres have HP on par with max Con 3rd level Barbarians but only a +2 Con Mod.

I'd be surprised if we get too many high Con monsters without decent HP for thematic reasons, but I doubt it's a relevant concern mechanically.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Thats a good question. Why have some stats matter and others not right?

Monster Stats seem to matter for Skills (at least untrained skills) and Ability checks, as well as damage. They may even matter a bit for Saves (it's hard to tell). They do not appear to matter for most other things.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
John John wrote:
What path does PF 2.0 seem to be following?

From what we've seen monsters absolutely do have the abilities you would expect them to have logically (ie: Fire Elementals are immune to fire), and do not get special abilities for being a 'boss' (some get special abilities that make them better suited to that, like a Marlith getting the ability to attack 6 people in a turn, but as you note, she gets that due to having 6 arms and a legacy of using 6 weapons rather than due to being arbitrarily declared a 'boss').

There's also every evidence of them using their treasure being a viable and reasonable thing to do.

In short, they seem to meet your qualifications pretty much perfectly (despite not technically following PC creation rules).

Apparently it's harder to recover from being downed by a boss than a mook.

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