I can't duplicate the monsters in beastiary - DM in playtest


Monsters and Hazards

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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nightwhisper wrote:
But all those values are completely arbitrary.

When being thought up and before being used in print, yes, the same as Class HD. But they have a designated value and framework and advancement.


Nightwhisper wrote:
james014Aura wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
james014Aura wrote:

I very nearly swore off Starfinder (and did swear off hosting it for my group) JUST over that system's bestiary cheating up each and every monster, because I refuse to cheat at all (for deliberate deviations from the rules as given to players undermines the social contract and the trust players put in their GM).

How is that cheating? You state upfront that monsters/opponents don't follow the same rules as players, just it is in board games or video games. Or better still, you don't even bring the subject up unless somebody goes out of their way to notice that the Drow Ranger they are fighting doesn't follow exactly the same rules as the Elf Ranger they have in the party.
They're not even the same build SYSTEM. IF they were the same system, but NPCs or monsters get different progression because they're totally different creatures, that's one thing. It's no different from choosing Elf vs Dwarf or Ranger vs Wizard. I expect the GM to have more of the total options to choose, while players are limited for inter-party balance and not causing conflict (and narrative reasons). What's cheating about it is that they're not even on the same build system as players.

But using the same system is really just an illusion.

Yes, you can say that you calculated a monster's attack bonus from these values on its statblock. But all those values are completely arbitrary. There is no rule that says how many HD a given creature must have, nor what their attack stat can be. They can have spellcasting on top of having more and better HD than a fighter.

I'd content that everything in what you mentioned is covered by "different progression," which is fine by me. It's just that their level is rated according to the value and type of their hit dice. Player Classes are simply a subset of the system, rated at a ratio of 1 level in the class = 1 CR.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
james014Aura wrote:
Player Classes are simply a subset of the system, rated at a ratio of 1 level in the class = 1 CR.

An NPC Adept 20, an NPC Oracle 19 and a PC Rogue 4/Wizard 4/Occultist 4/Druid 4/Vigilante 2 are all CR 18.

They're totally on different planets as to what challenge do they represent.


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First, that's a cherry-pick (Edit: /strawman) from my argument, which is for consistency in the system.

Second, your post is about balance, not using the same system. I'm not saying that 1e is balanced. It's not. But everyone was choosing their powers from the same pool. Yes, Monsters and NPCS (that don't have player-equivalent builds) were in different parts of it, but so were different PCs, like a Fighter choosing from combat feats while their Wizard buddy chooses from Metamagic and Item Crafting, and the party Cleric from Item Crafting or Channeling. (Yes, this is an incomplete example, even just for those classes, but PF1E is very big.)

The system here? It's not the same pool. It only bears a resemblance in results only to the system the players use.

Anyway, back to your example: I'm not denying that a GM needs to sanity-check things. But some things getting more power than others is something that applies to both players and monsters. See: Dragons vs most other things of their CR. I'm not denying that there needs to be a rebalance for level/CR.

But rebalance =/= ripping out a system and making the GM cheat by not even using the same system.


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Pick a monster from PF1, let's say a hill giant - it's pretty basic - please explain how it is built using the same rules as PCs.

Because at some point someone sat down and said* "it needs to be large, more HD than an ogre, we'll need some kind of rock throwing as all giants have that ability and it needs to be CR7", and someone else telling them "well it's AC needs to be about 21, how much of that should be natural?", "well if we give it 8 dex, so increase it's natural AC by 1, let's not worry about the hit to init. now it needs to be doing nearly 20 damage on average how do we want to break that down?"

It only bears a resemblance in the results to the system the players use.

PF1 pays nothing more than lip service to following the same rules. In some respects Starfinder is much more open and honest than PF1.

*possibly :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, if anything is cheating, it's PF1 with its arbitrary adjustments, frequently made to ensure that the monster/NPC actually works.

Remember 3.5? Remember every sane developer cheating high-CR undead by arbitrarily giving them +Cha to HP so that they won't be made out of paper OR have insanely inflated HD. Remember 3.5 Ileosa? She got a "you can cast spells while performing feat" to cheat her out of one of crippling weaknesses of 3.5 Bards.

THAT was "cheating". Granted, PF1 removed a lot of that, but still there are blatant wringings of stuff to make it work. Prime example: Wild Hunt Monarch, or "How to make a high CR fey a dangerous melee combatant with their 1/2 HD BAB well why not, let's have him wield a bane against everything weapon *wink wink nudge nudge*".


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dragonhunterq wrote:
Pick a monster from PF1, let's say a hill giant - it's pretty basic - please explain how it is built using the same rules as PCs.

It gets feats, skill ranks, and saves based on the progression and hit dice and creature type (like level and class), it also gets class skills.

dragonhunterq wrote:
Because at some point someone sat down and said* "it needs to be large, more HD than an ogre, we'll need some kind of rock throwing as all giants have that ability and it needs to be CR7", and someone else telling them "well it's AC needs to be about 21, how much of that should be natural?", "well if we give it 8 dex, so increase it's natural AC by 1, let's not worry about the hit to init. now it needs to be doing nearly 20 damage on average how do we want to break that down?"

As I've said before, monsters getting bonuses because they don't have wealth by level is fine with me. Those bonuses are accounted for, such as their given Natural Armor value or any bonus feats. Is it equal to the players? No. Is it the same system? Yes.

And different baselines (such as Hill Giant vs a PC) is little more within the system than Dwarf vs Elf vs Human vs Halfling vs etc.

And besides, players can do things like that to their characters (replacing "nearly 20" with "as much as possible") with damage dice and strength scores.

For your specific example, lowering dex and getting more natural armor - you mean, Minmaxing like players are able to do? The giant uses a different part of the armor class computation to do that than most PC races, but it's still part of the same system, which even some player characters can use under the right circumstances, and everything is accounted for.

dragonhunterq wrote:

It only bears a resemblance in the results to the system the players use.

PF1 pays nothing more than lip service to following the same rules. In some respects Starfinder is much more open and honest than PF1.

*possibly :)

Curiously, reduced CR due to lack of gear is in the rules. It's one of the most eyebally-type adjustments, but it's there. Most monsters don't have much wealth, and their CR is lower than their hit dice. They still use the same rules. They don't get as much per hit die as players do, but that is still the same rules set. Getting more hit dice is simply a compensation for their CR, which is accounted for.

Gorbacz wrote:
Yeah, if anything is cheating, it's PF1 with its arbitrary adjustments, frequently made to ensure that the monster/NPC actually works.

Weapon Focus, Dodge, Power Attack, Toughness. All of those might as well be, too. Adjustments to a monster which are accounted for within the rule set are not cheating. After all, players get lots of goodies from leveling up, too. The ability score and natural armor increases from Dragon Disciple might as well be arbitrary, but are those cheating? If they aren't, then monsters aren't, either.

Gorbacz wrote:
Remember 3.5? Remember every sane developer cheating high-CR undead by arbitrarily giving them +Cha to HP so that they won't be made out of paper OR have insanely inflated HD. Remember 3.5 Ileosa? She got a "you can cast spells while performing feat" to cheat her out of one of crippling weaknesses of 3.5 Bards.

I never played 3.5 and from what I've seen, I'd rather stick with pf1e than try d&d3.5. Regardless, this is about pf1e vs pf2e, not d&d3.5.

Gorbacz wrote:

THAT was "cheating". Granted, PF1 removed a lot of that, but still there are blatant wringings of stuff to make it work. Prime example: Wild Hunt Monarch, or "How to make a high CR fey a dangerous melee combatant with their 1/2 HD BAB well why not, let's have him wield a bane against everything weapon *wink wink nudge nudge*".

You mean stuff like (Anti)Paladin's Smite Good(Evil), Cavalier's Challenge, Fighter's Weapon and Armor Training, Shifter Feat Shifter's Claws, Ranger's Instant Enemy, Inquisitor's Bane, Magus Arcana Bane Blade, or Slayer's Studied Target? Okay, fine. The Wild Hunt Monarch has those as constants rather than needing to use that power. So, that's a power it got to compensate for not having PC levels. That is not cheating. That is accounted for and uses the rules players use. Yes, it changes things a little, but the players demonstrably have the option to change the rules, too, so it can't be cheating.


Once PF2 critter creation rules hit the printer they are the rules. Creating creatures that way will be following the rules. It can't be cheating if it's the rules.

It's just streamlining the system. The end result will be nearly identical. Monsters have the right stats for the role and unique abilities the players can't duplicate - and no need to pad beasties with unused feats and skills "just because".


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Morally, it very much is cheating on the GM's part if they use DIFFERENT rules for their things than the players use for theirs, by dint of flat-out violating the rules they've given to their players (in the form of selecting the system).


There are many systems that use asymmetrical systems for critters and PCs. They all work quite successfully. The players all know what they are signing up for.

By selecting the system you agree to use that systems rules - not some other systems rules. PF2 will set the rules you play by, and they aren't hiding any of the maths - so no violation of any rules occurs and no breach of player/GM contract and certainly not a violation of some arbitrary morality (especially one that ignores PF1 and it's predecessors blatant breaches*)

*random example - hey mindless undead get no feats, but lets give two of the most classic undead bonus feats because...uh! shouldn't this be the point that, morally, you stop playing PF1? or do you give players feats just because?


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Bonus feats are accounted for. They're not tied to having an Int score, which is why they don't get feats. Besides, players can get bonus feats , too - a whole lot of classes offer some. Some bonus feats (Ranger, and I know there's a Monk archetype, at least) can give bonus feats before the players qualify, which is much the same thing.

I'm not denying that, say, 1e's monsters have asymmetry - they get a different set of racial powers that players don't (without polymorph), more hit dice, higher ability scores. Meanwhile, players get items (which can raise their ability scores), and lots of class goodies. That is not what I'm against.

But I currently see no maths in the bestiary or rulebook for monsters creation. And the monsters currently have unaccounted arbitrary +X. I don't mind arbitrary to bring something into balance with PC abilities. What I mind is that there is currently *no accounting of it*. Looking at the monsters right now, that one colossal issue, accounting for it openly... is the only thing that currently separates "monsters, but they have a different advancement track" from "pcs".


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The math is there if you look for it. You can find patterns in comparing monsters of similar CRs. It probably makes more sense then 1st Ed monsters.

I brought up two examples earlier; the aboleth and the efreet. Are those fair? They both have access to 9th level spells at very low CRs. And APs love to use aboleths vs 6 or 7th level characters like that's fair. Or the succubus and their unfair CH, another favorite in APs.

Or I mentioned the Erinyes. Like an outsider with the best HD, BAB, saves, abilties, etc... needs bonus feats.

All of those things could be called arbitrary, or cheating. So I don't seen what the difference is here other than its new.

I wasn't a fan at first, bit I've come to realize it really doesn't matter and 2E may be easier to alter things on the fly.

Silver Crusade

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Thing is: I had players with goblin characters notice the "goblin scuttle" in "Lost Star".
He immediately asked, if his character could learn to do the same.
When I said no, there's no Ancestry feat in the Goblin ancestry.
He then asked if it was a monster feat in the Bestiary.

Someone having base familiarity with D&D/Pathfinder is going to assume that monsters and PC's are (at least somewhat) based on the same rules.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Franz Lunzer wrote:

Thing is: I had players with goblin characters notice the "goblin scuttle" in "Lost Star".

He immediately asked, if his character could learn to do the same.
When I said no, there's no Ancestry feat in the Goblin ancestry.
He then asked if it was a monster feat in the Bestiary.

Someone having base familiarity with D&D/Pathfinder is going to assume that monsters and PC's are (at least somewhat) based on the same rules.

Oh, my players also wanted to learn pugwampi's unluck aura back in Legacy of Fire. Same problem, same answer.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:

Thing is: I had players with goblin characters notice the "goblin scuttle" in "Lost Star".

He immediately asked, if his character could learn to do the same.
When I said no, there's no Ancestry feat in the Goblin ancestry.
He then asked if it was a monster feat in the Bestiary.

Someone having base familiarity with D&D/Pathfinder is going to assume that monsters and PC's are (at least somewhat) based on the same rules.

Oh, my players also wanted to learn pugwampi's unluck aura back in Legacy of Fire. Same problem, same answer.

Why didn't your player's Pugwampi have an unluck aura? It's what they're know for.


I have to disagree with the sentiment calling building Monsters by different rules "cheating". If that sentiment is about Monsters being better in skills/perception compared to PCs I have a thread that deconstructs that particular issue and I'm pretty sure it was not the dev's intent.

See
Deconstructing the Problem: Monster Skills, Monster Perception, and the Skills DC Table; Fixing the Item Bonus Assumption Problem
for more on how the Monsters seem to just be ~2pts better than PCs. Its far more complicated than that, but we can see how it happened and there are ways it can be addressed before final release.

But, the way it looks like we'll be creating monsters will be easily executable, and allow us to create monsters at any level quickly and with numbers that work. The whole process will be an order of magnitude faster than creating a monster using PC style rules.

It will look something like this...

Pick Monster Cr. Use Columns for that level. Use that levels appropriate class DC.

Pick Defense, a combination of HP and AC/TAC for that level modified by Immunities, Resistances, Vulnerabilities, and special considerations.

Pick offense, a combination of appropriate attack modifier and damage output. Modify attacks by special considerations.

Pick Saves suite, pick a combination of the three saves at the variety monster proficiency tiers to equal the correct overall power level.

Select Skills. Pick a number of named skills and select appropriate monster proficiency tiers. Unnamed skills get the appropriate skills +X modifier(still not sure how this one is calculated) which is modified the the abilities you select for that particular Monster.

Select special abilities etc. It really will be that easy to create viable Monsters with level appropriate abilities. The Table 2 Hazard Statistics table gives us an idea roughly where these values are going to be.

As I said before, right now there are some systemic issues with Monster Skills and Perception and it is due to some foundational problems and assumptions and also affects the 10-2 Skill DC table.

As someone that absolutely found creating Monsters using PC style rules in 3.5 absolutely horrible, I support the goal of designing monsters like this. Personally, I'd like to see the monsters ability scores be less a veneer. But, what ultimately matters is that Monsters end up with level appropriate numbers, otherwise they do not function at their designed CR. We've had a veneer of "playing by the same rules" for a long time. I mean, the infamous natural armor problem where you just tacked on enough natural armor to get a reasonable AC at higher levels.


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I have to agree with james014Aura in regards to separate monster/PC rules provoking ethics violations on the part of the DM, and I think the argument is less about "the rules need to make sure that the bonuses the PC and the monster gets are similar" (though that's important) and more about "the rules need to be very clear as to *why* a monster has the numbers it has, *where* its getting them from, and *how* it matches up to opposing PCs".

I think official "how to build a monster" tables, as James referred to, generally satisfies these requirements (the monster has X stat because it is Y CR and thus has Z stat options), but can feel rather arbitrary to a lot of players and GMs -- particularly if there is any dissonance between what that monster has and what a similarly designed PC has (hence the complaints about goblin puppets earlier).

Here's some anecdotal evidence supporting my position: some years past, I played in a Pathfinder Societies mission at a local convention, along with a few members of my regular play group (because we had fun showing up at convention tables and pretending to have never met each other before, and thus surprising the hell out of the GM with sudden coordination). During one of these events the GM of that particular cornfield-oriented encounter deliberately used an NPC encounter scaled up well above what our piddly level-one butts could handle. Now, the GM was also doing other things wrong (cough cough hide in plain sight), and we *did* actually survive to run away (for the most part), but it was very important in general that we were able to track down *why* the monster in question was performing as effectively as it did. Monster rules are part of the contract between the GM and the players that helps make sure that all parties in question are trying to make the game fun for everyone, rather than any one party maximizing their fun at the expense of others.

This is especially important in public games like Pathfinder Societies, where the GM and the players may not have played together before. This allows players to know which GMs are, effectively, cheating.

Arbitrary rulesets for monster designs make this both easier and harder. It *can* be easier to track down why a monster has a certain stat if there is a table provided that should show exactly what that stat is (rather than relying on a calculation). However, it can also mean that effectively the GM can stick a monster's stat wherever he wants, without explanation, to wherever happens to hurt the party most (or hurt the party the most within that round), or even use the highest available bonus for every stat without the players really being able to prove otherwise.

Are there other ways to handle ethics violations like this? Yes; you can just leave the table. But leaving the table and/or refusing to continue with a specific GM is much more acceptable and much easier to explain if you can cite specific rules issues that cause you to no longer trust that person, and in my opinion, arbitrary rule sets make that harder.


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I really do object to it being referred to as an ethical violation or cheating. Its the g-d rules, it quite literally by definition cannot be cheating.

As part of your introducing PF1 players to PF2 just inform them that the system is asymmetric - social contract met.

Cheats will cheat no matter what the system.

GMs can already just alter monsters to suit their whim or to provide a more suitable challenge to their players (or attack their weaknesses) without explanation. There is no rule stopping them. The reality is the custom creation 'rules' are just guidelines. I tweak monsters all the time.

I have seen plenty of adaptations of monsters to PC playable that reduce their size, remove racial HD or remove some of the more egregious abilities or scores to make them playable - not everything that is available to monsters is available or suitable for PCs - asymmetrical rules for PC races and monsters is not a new concept.


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dragonhunterq wrote:


GMs can already just alter monsters to suit their whim or to provide a more suitable challenge to their players (or attack their weaknesses) without explanation. There is no rule stopping them.

And that works great when you know the GM and the players and can trust them to adjust NPCs to make the story / game / experience better, but is *not* that great in situations were you don't know the GM and/or the other players. This is why we have 'That GM' stories all over the internet.

And sure, cheaters are always going to cheat, but:
A. Most cheaters prefer to cheat within the rules as much as possible
B. By providing a solid rule structure, it is easier for the players to identify *when* the GM is cheating, and whether or not that behavior is actually making the game more or less fun

I know we're talking about a system where cheating *is* in the purview of the DM, ostensibly in the name of keeping the game fair and fun, but we're *also* talking about a rule system Paizo is providing for Society play. You can't rely on the GM to be working for maximum fun in Society play; you have to rely on a combination of the rules, previous players, and organizer oversight, and only one of those is visible to the prospective players beforehand.

Finally, I'll admit, there's a bit of a personal preference thing here. I view "monsters and PCs use the same general rules" as a positive adaptation that came from the move to 3rd, and I don't like throwing it out just because it simplifies on-the-fly monster production. In my opinion, on-the-fly monster production doesn't need the help, and focusing on a simple, easier to fudge system can and will hurt internal consistency. It also, as you mention, makes you jump through hoops to create monster PCs and PC monsters, where a symmetrical system does not.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There's no difference between PF1 and PF2 when it comes to PFS and cheating. You have the stats of the monster in the module or in a bestiary, you run them as written. How is that monster designed has no bearing here, you use it RAW and wing stuff only when the situation calls for something not covered by the rules. The structure is there, whether it was designed using PF1 or PF2 monster design paradigm.


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Gorbacz wrote:

There's no difference between PF1 and PF2 when it comes to PFS and cheating. You have the stats of the monster in the module or in a bestiary, you run them as written. How is that monster designed has no bearing here, you use it RAW and wing stuff only when the situation calls for something not covered by the rules. The structure is there, whether it was designed using PF1 or PF2 monster design paradigm.

The bigger issue is the system itself cheating, and requiring that people follow it in doing so.

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