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


Monsters and Hazards

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So one thing I really like about PF and 3.5e is that you can easily deduce how the monsters hit point, attack, skills etc. is calculated. A Gnoll in vanilla PF has +3 to hit, and this is easily calculable by looking at his str (+2 mod) and BAB (+1). Sometimes these stats may be off by a number or two, but usually its pretty consistent.

In PF2 however, I haven't been able to replicate a single monster I've read so far. I consider this of utmost importance as DM, in case I wish to give them class levels or alter them in ways I see fit. For example swapping feats.

Take a simple Pig in the Playertest Bestiary (page 34). It has +6 to hit with its tusks, but only +1 Str mod. Where did those last +5 to hit come from? No feats are displayed, and neither is its profiency with tusk. The level states he's lvl 0, so even if the pig was somehow legendary with his tusks, his hit should still only be +4.

Another example is the Drow Cleric (page 62), which is an "monster" with an actual class (I'm assuming). But she has no feats and by my calculations both her hit and hp are wrong, if we follow the PC character creation rules.

I realize the beastiary states as following..

"Unlike PCs, who are built using a strict set of rules,
creatures in this document have special abilities and
statistics that cover a broader range. ... the extremes of their
statistics and abilities go both higher and lower than those
of PCs."

..but as a DM I cherish consistency in the beastiary, so I can easily tailor certain monsters as I see fit, within the rules of the game. If I want the final boss to be a lvl 20 Fighter Pig, it's kinda important to know where his final +5 hit came from.

Creature adjustments are something I only use on the fly, like on random encounters.

It might be that I've calculated the numbers wrong, because I'm not familiar enough with the rules yet, in that case I would love to know :) Sorry if my english isn't that good, it's not my first language.


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You can't do it. End stats are based on the desired level, like in Starfinder. You won't be able to recreate them until the real Bestiary comes out with the final system and the publish the relevant rules.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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There are rules that we are using internally to create monsters, but they are much more like those in Starfinder than the ones in Pathfinder 1st edition. All and all, I have found using them make my life as a GM immensely simpler, especially when working on the fly in the middle of an adventure.

For example, when running Crypt of the Everflame for charity at Gary Con, my players decided to explore the lake in the beginning of the adventure, the one that contains a giant snake. Not having the stats on hand, I was able to create a snake using the new guidelines, including giving it special attacks and actions, in about a minute. Now, I know I have more expertise than most in that regard, but that is a huge step up from 1st in terms of time and utility at the table.

Of course, as always, this system is also open to review and your feedback.


I need to check but you reckon any of it is based on the DCs table?

Edit: Didn't notice Bulmahn post.

Silver Crusade

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

There are rules that we are using internally to create monsters, but they are much more like those in Starfinder than the ones in Pathfinder 1st edition. All and all, I have found using them make my life as a GM immensely simpler, especially when working on the fly in the middle of an adventure.

For example, when running Crypt of the Everflame for charity at Gary Con, my players decided to explore the lake in the beginning of the adventure, the one that contains a giant snake. Not having the stats on hand, I was able to create a snake using the new guidelines, including giving it special attacks and actions, in about a minute. Now, I know I have more expertise than most in that regard, but that is a huge step up from 1st in terms of time and utility at the table.

Of course, as always, this system is also open to review and your feedback.

Are there plans to release this system externally for the purpose of gathering that review & feedback? (Or is it in the GM materials already released? I haven't read those yet.)


What GM materials? I can’t find those anywhere.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:


Of course, as always, this system is also open to review and your feedback.

Hi Jason,

Are there plans to release those before the playtest is up? I was under the impression that the PF2 monster creation rules would be part of the Playtest Bestiary, but I must have accidentally inferred that.

Liberty's Edge

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Applying the same rules to PCs and NPCs is a stylistic choice that D&D derived games seem to have largely left behind at this point. D&D 4e moved away from 3e’s consistencyand from what I understand 5e didn’t bring it back. I’m not a Starfinder person, but it’s my understanding that with Starfinder Paizo also started down that path. I astrongly prefer a consistent set of PC/NPC rules, which I think of as the “natural laws” of the game universe, but I’m afraid that ship has sailed.


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I already find it easy to figure out. I think it DOES have "natural laws".... just not maybe what PF1 players expect.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

There are rules that we are using internally to create monsters, but they are much more like those in Starfinder than the ones in Pathfinder 1st edition. All and all, I have found using them make my life as a GM immensely simpler, especially when working on the fly in the middle of an adventure.

For example, when running Crypt of the Everflame for charity at Gary Con, my players decided to explore the lake in the beginning of the adventure, the one that contains a giant snake. Not having the stats on hand, I was able to create a snake using the new guidelines, including giving it special attacks and actions, in about a minute. Now, I know I have more expertise than most in that regard, but that is a huge step up from 1st in terms of time and utility at the table.

Of course, as always, this system is also open to review and your feedback.

Hmmmm...

As long as I can still make out the framework and its easy to modify the critters and apply templates and class levels and the like (and NPCs don't have Class unique abilities that the Classes themselves can never get), I'll be hopeful.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

There are rules that we are using internally to create monsters, but they are much more like those in Starfinder than the ones in Pathfinder 1st edition. All and all, I have found using them make my life as a GM immensely simpler, especially when working on the fly in the middle of an adventure.

...

Of course, as always, this system is also open to review and your feedback.

I would love to get my hands on these rules!!!! (Edit: Right Now! During Playtest)

BTW, I loved the monster creation rules in Starfinder Alien Archive (similar to Pathfinder Unchained). I'm currently running Rise of the Runelords with Playtest rules, and would love to convert some of the monsters and NPCs from the adventure to PF2 (those that aren't in the bestiary, or have been modified from the vanilla bestiary versions, e.g. Erylium the Quasit spell-slinger.


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Luke Styer wrote:
Applying the same rules to PCs and NPCs is a stylistic choice that D&D derived games seem to have largely left behind at this point. D&D 4e moved away from 3e’s consistencyand from what I understand 5e didn’t bring it back. I’m not a Starfinder person, but it’s my understanding that with Starfinder Paizo also started down that path. I astrongly prefer a consistent set of PC/NPC rules, which I think of as the “natural laws” of the game universe, but I’m afraid that ship has sailed.

5E did bring it back, but with some modifications. A Monster uses their CR to determine their proficiency mod instead of their Level... Well Monster's dont even have level. Within that framework, at least, monsters conform to PC rules for the most part. HP is the stat that gets inflated by this most of the time, but the rest is pretty consistent.

Their attack roll is Prof Mod + Str Mod and is line with PCs of Level = CR. Their skills likewise follow the universal formula + maybe small bonuses from their species.

Their ACs are pretty low and general and scale at similar rate to PCs (Almost none at all), it doesn't even abuse natural armor as much as 3E did.

Enemies do get a buncha unique special abilities, like multiple attacks early and other special actions/reactions, but Math-wise it is very clean and transparent. This is one of my favorite parts of that game (And I'm almost a PF1 purist).

PF2 would benefit from trying to do it like that. You still get a lot of margin to change things, but at least things add up and you easily avoid imbalances except when ability scores are crazy.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

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Singularity wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

There are rules that we are using internally to create monsters, but they are much more like those in Starfinder than the ones in Pathfinder 1st edition. All and all, I have found using them make my life as a GM immensely simpler, especially when working on the fly in the middle of an adventure.

...

Of course, as always, this system is also open to review and your feedback.

I would love to get my hands on these rules!!!! (Edit: Right Now! During Playtest)

Seconded!


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I am reserving final judgement until I see the monster creation rules... but my initial reaction to the two systems style of design is negative. Really, really negative.

I don't like two different rulesets based on something as nebulous (and changeable) as "is the thing in question allied to the PCs?". I like universal rules - and differing creation rules, differing initiative rules, differing dying rules make for an inconsistent, arbitrary, and unsatisfying game world (for me, YMMV).

Example from The Lost Star:
I, and all my players, found the goblins in The Lost Star disconcerting and non-immersive. They are literally, per the adventure, the tribe that one of the PCs came from just a few days before, and yet they had completely different statistics than any possible PC-rules goblin. It wasn't like the feel of individual character variance, either - it was like the goblin PC had been raised by some other creature wearing goblin costumes. In fact, "I escaped from a bunch of fake goblins and that's why I live with the longshanks" might be his official backstory now.

Basically, it feels like the monsters and challenges are just a facade put in front of a batch of stats that have been deemed appropriate for the level. Which is very video-gamish, IMAO. And I already have video games for that fix.


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Mike Welham wrote:
Singularity wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

There are rules that we are using internally to create monsters, but they are much more like those in Starfinder than the ones in Pathfinder 1st edition. All and all, I have found using them make my life as a GM immensely simpler, especially when working on the fly in the middle of an adventure.

...

Of course, as always, this system is also open to review and your feedback.

I would love to get my hands on these rules!!!! (Edit: Right Now! During Playtest)

Seconded!

Uh, thirded?


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DireLemming wrote:
Mike Welham wrote:
Singularity wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

There are rules that we are using internally to create monsters, but they are much more like those in Starfinder than the ones in Pathfinder 1st edition. All and all, I have found using them make my life as a GM immensely simpler, especially when working on the fly in the middle of an adventure.

...

Of course, as always, this system is also open to review and your feedback.

I would love to get my hands on these rules!!!! (Edit: Right Now! During Playtest)

Seconded!
Uh, thirded?

And my Axe!


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It's hard to playtest without all the rules available. The bestiary seems an important part of this process, at least a sample one.


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I would really like this rules to. And can see them as very important...


Requielle wrote:

I am reserving final judgement until I see the monster creation rules... but my initial reaction to the two systems style of design is negative. Really, really negative.

I don't like two different rulesets based on something as nebulous (and changeable) as "is the thing in question allied to the PCs?". I like universal rules - and differing creation rules, differing initiative rules, differing dying rules make for an inconsistent, arbitrary, and unsatisfying game world (for me, YMMV).

** spoiler omitted **

Basically, it feels like the monsters and challenges are just a facade put in front of a batch of stats that have been deemed appropriate for the level. Which is very video-gamish, IMAO. And I already have video games for that fix.

That is one of the problems that would arise anyway with goblins as a core ancestry when they need to fulfill the same criteria as the other core's. I think stats for goblin PC's in PF 1 did reflect them rather well but that cannot be in the context of the core rules.

That level 0 monsters have to be of increased power level in the current setting certainly doesn't help though.


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Monsters have never really followed the same rules as PCs except in a token manner. If you needed a monster of a certain level to have two extra points of AC it got a boost to natural armour or a template or you gave it +4 dex and made some other adjustments to bring the consequences of that change back in line - just being able to go "this needs to have AC24 - done!" is simpler and in some respects more honest. (There is only 1 thing I would like to see broken down some - I'd like some indication of how much armour is hard armour and how much dodge/deflection, but even that isn't really needed. I can't think of anything else I need broken down)

As to changing monsters now it's as easy as it has always been - remove the effect of one feat and add the effect of another feat. Reduce it's HP by it's level and give +5' speed - it's not rocket science. Once you have an idea of the range of numbers required for a particular level you can tweak any critter to your hearts content.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
dragonhunterq wrote:
Monsters have never really followed the same rules as PCs except in a token manner.

Except... the token manner was formulaic. The base chassis predicated off the same rules a PC had. BAB implied attack abilities and basic saving throw progressions. Yes, a designer could bolt on things like natural armor bonuses or DR, but players had a world-building immersion, knowing that wizard-like monsters would have high Intelligence, non-agile massive beasts would have terrible Dexterity stores, and so on. It let players anticipate the nature of their foes in a very realistic fashion. Now a designer can just decide that a monster has a high TAC without earning it mathematically, without regard for if it makes sense.

Yes, it's a matter of degree. But "worse" isn't the direction design should take, despite DM effort. This, from the mouth of a DM who has spent a LOT of time tweaking and adjusting challenges, and yes, I'd always make sure I had the right number of skill ranks, etc, etc.

A thing worth doing is a thing worth doing right.


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Anguish wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
Monsters have never really followed the same rules as PCs except in a token manner.

Except... the token manner was formulaic. The base chassis predicated off the same rules a PC had. BAB implied attack abilities and basic saving throw progressions. Yes, a designer could bolt on things like natural armor bonuses or DR, but players had a world-building immersion, knowing that wizard-like monsters would have high Intelligence, non-agile massive beasts would have terrible Dexterity stores, and so on. It let players anticipate the nature of their foes in a very realistic fashion. Now a designer can just decide that a monster has a high TAC without earning it mathematically, without regard for if it makes sense.

Yes, it's a matter of degree. But "worse" isn't the direction design should take, despite DM effort. This, from the mouth of a DM who has spent a LOT of time tweaking and adjusting challenges, and yes, I'd always make sure I had the right number of skill ranks, etc, etc.

A thing worth doing is a thing worth doing right.

If you just increased a monsters intelligence by 2 to 'officially' give it the extra skill ranks you want it to have why not just give it the skill ranks?

Once they get the monsters operating on the same numbers as the players (an error they have admitted to) you still have the non-agile beasts having a lower dex score, but now you don't have to give it +16 natural AC to make up for the lack. There is no reason for creatures not to make sense just because you skip the middle 'justification step' and give it the appropriate and realistic stats for it's type from the outset.

As a DM who also spent a LOT of time tweaking and adjusting challenges and spending a LOT of time making sure critters had the right number of skill ranks, this seems to make my job a LOT easier.


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dragonhunterq wrote:

Monsters have never really followed the same rules as PCs except in a token manner. If you needed a monster of a certain level to have two extra points of AC it got a boost to natural armour or a template or you gave it +4 dex and made some other adjustments to bring the consequences of that change back in line - just being able to go "this needs to have AC24 - done!" is simpler and in some respects more honest. (There is only 1 thing I would like to see broken down some - I'd like some indication of how much armour is hard armour and how much dodge/deflection, but even that isn't really needed. I can't think of anything else I need broken down)

As to changing monsters now it's as easy as it has always been - remove the effect of one feat and add the effect of another feat. Reduce it's HP by it's level and give +5' speed - it's not rocket science. Once you have an idea of the range of numbers required for a particular level you can tweak any critter to your hearts content.

I disagree 100%. When I call out to see if an attack number hits, and the players think it's extremely high for the level, they're going to call me on it and make sure I'm not adding stuff I shouldn't be adding, and it's a valid concern; sometimes GMs add things they shouldn't and can alter the result of the roll. One precise example from PF1 was when I had two of the 3 BBEGs charge and outright kill a player (he was the closest to the bad guys within range and was supposed to be the tank) with him calling me out on how I got my math. With the PF1 rules, I was able to calmly and collectively explain how I reached the numbers, so he settled down and accepted what happened. (Yes, I did allow him to come back in the fight through some shenanigans, but that's beside the point.) If I couldn't do that, I was certain the other players would have chimed in and booted me from the GM slot (if not from the table).

All this does is give the GMs a right to say "He has +50 because I said he has +50." WHich is both absurd in this game (does anything have +50? Maybe some Rare/Unique tier Monsters, perhaps, and those bonuses were rare even in PF1,) and prone to drive players away because they're convinced their GM is a complete and utter cheat who flies off the handles with the rules. (Which they may actually be right, but for those cases where it's not, congratulations, the rules that let me make whatever the hell I wanted caused players to shirk away from the game; guess I'll report that to Paizo and see what they and others have to say on the matter.)

Exaggerated statement aside, another thing this doesn't help on is determining whether a stat block is accurate or not. With the PF1 rules, we could confirm whether or not their statblocks were calculated correctly or not, as well as determine if they followed the rules correctly (or to see what is and isn't a modification). Here, we don't get that luxury. When a level 2 creature does 11D6 damage on a swing, or when a level 7 creature can cast Time Stop as an Innate ability, are they really errors, or are they just modifications that the developers made solely for this creature? And nobody will know until we talk to the developers, which will probably never come up with them being at the grindstone as it is.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
When a level 2 creature does 11D6 damage on a swing, or when a level 7 creature can cast Time Stop as an Innate ability, are they really errors, or are they just modifications that the developers made solely for this creature?

How would you know in PF1 if a creature with unusually large damage dice for its natural attacks, or Time Stop as a spell-like ability, was a mistake?


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
dragonhunterq wrote:
If you just increased a monsters intelligence by 2 to 'officially' give it the extra skill ranks you want it to have why not just give it the skill ranks?

Because consistency. By working backwards from fundamentals, you make a monster that is consistent, not yet-another-exception. In this case, it'll also have an extra language known. Yes that's minor, but the specific example is minor.

Quote:
Once they get the monsters operating on the same numbers as the players (an error they have admitted to) you still have the non-agile beasts having a lower dex score, but now you don't have to give it +16 natural AC to make up for the lack. There is no reason for creatures not to make sense just because you skip the middle 'justification step' and give it the appropriate and realistic stats for it's type from the outset.

To me, it's a case of "justify your work". In PF1, monsters were (usually) going to be rational. The relationship between BAB and hit dice and attack was something that could (usually) be counted upon. Yes, occasional monsters had very high Con/Cha scores to make them a bag of hit points, but those were the outliers. Now a monster designer has no underlying framework to make monsters fit together. That was the single-most element of Starfinder that rubbed our players the wrong way.

Quote:
As a DM who also spent a LOT of time tweaking and adjusting challenges and spending a LOT of time making sure critters had the right number of skill ranks, this seems to make my job a LOT easier.

Yes, but that ease doesn't (necessarily) translate to quality.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
When a level 2 creature does 11D6 damage on a swing, or when a level 7 creature can cast Time Stop as an Innate ability, are they really errors, or are they just modifications that the developers made solely for this creature?
How would you know in PF1 if a creature with unusually large damage dice for its natural attacks, or Time Stop as a spell-like ability, was a mistake?

For the former, I could check other creatures of its level to compare typos, which might technically be possible in PF2, but since we are required to playtest things as-is, I couldn't change it, even if it was an error. (If it has a separate Adventure Path entry, I could at least see if there is a discrepancy.) For the latter, even in PF1 I couldn't necessarily tell. There might be a description that limits it to maybe 1D2 rounds or so, or be some crazy artifact thing that it possesses. Heck, it could just pull some Za Warudo shenanigans for all I know.

In PF2, I couldn't even say for sure whether these are intended or not simply because it requires a design philosophy that I'm not familiar with, or even understand. (Maybe the creature wasn't intended to be encountered by the PCs whatsoever, and was made this deadly just to prove that point?) Nobody would know for sure except for the person that designed it, and when players call BS, and the only thing I have to rebuttal with is "I'm the GM, and it says X, so it's X," players won't like it and leave the table because of it for the simple fact that they dislike the game balance and could be of the opinion that the GM is a cheat. (Even if I bother to show them what the book actually says.)

I'm not saying GMs can't change monster values, but what I'm saying is that it should be more apparent to the PCs (and the GM) as to how those changes come to be, and it should have as little arbitrary application as possible. A creature with higher AC? Probably just got its Natural Armor boosted through a template. A creature with high attributes all around? Probably received the Advanced (or in PF2, Elite) template. A creature that's weaker? Probably has numerous conditions and such (or a template) that reduce its overall effectiveness.


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The minimum amount of "Monster using PC rules" I think is allowed before things get silly is the amount 5E used.

Monsters get skills, abilities and health without much explanation, but their modifiers on all of them follow the regular math. Attack rolls are prof + STR mod, all skills use their correct Ability Score + possible proficiency and exceptions are very rare and always pointed out in the block. (This monster has additional +X because Y). Finally, they also have saving throws that correspond to player saving throws.

All of this without limiting their design much if at all. If anything, they were a bit conservative with abilities and should have given them more/cooler powers, thankfully the PF2 Bestiary is full of cool abilities. It's just the arbitrary numbers where they dropped the ball.

Yes, this can lead to monsters of different power being the same "Level", specially if one is a Giant with super strength or something, but at it's a small price.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
When a level 2 creature does 11D6 damage on a swing, or when a level 7 creature can cast Time Stop as an Innate ability, are they really errors, or are they just modifications that the developers made solely for this creature?

This is an extremely funny point to bring up as there is a CR 7 creature with a 9th level spell, and a CR 8 creature with a 9th level spell in PF 1. Did you think those were errors or random modifications?

At first I disliked that monsters didn't use the same rules as PCs. Then I realized that they 'cheated' all the time in PF1 monsters to abide by the rules so it doesn't matter. Another example as I'm going through Hell's Rebels: why does an Erinyes, a 9HD outsider (likely the toughest creature type) get 2 bonus feats? Isn't that ignoring PC creation rules?

Anyways, what they are doing in PF2 is not a new thing, its just obvious.


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Echoing the request for exact monster building rules.

I need to figure out what a Cleric of Rovagug’s magic touch attack roll is by like, tonight.


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ChibiNyan wrote:

The minimum amount of "Monster using PC rules" I think is allowed before things get silly is the amount 5E used.

Monsters get skills, abilities and health without much explanation, but their modifiers on all of them follow the regular math. Attack rolls are prof + STR mod, all skills use their correct Ability Score + possible proficiency and exceptions are very rare and always pointed out in the block. (This monster has additional +X because Y). Finally, they also have saving throws that correspond to player saving throws.

All of this without limiting their design much if at all. If anything, they were a bit conservative with abilities and should have given them more/cooler powers, thankfully the PF2 Bestiary is full of cool abilities. It's just the arbitrary numbers where they dropped the ball.

Yes, this can lead to monsters of different power being the same "Level", specially if one is a Giant with super strength or something, but at it's a small price.

So yeah, this is the way to do it... I totally agree. I don't need an explanation for *why* they're Expert Proficiency with their Bite Attack, but if I know their HD, their Prof, and their Strength/Dexterity, that should agree with their attack bonus... Probably similar for "armor bonus", which you'd have flexibility on given natural armor, and Dexterity.

The problem this runs into is that monsters aren't designed to be statted like players. Consider a CR1 enemies with an AC of 17. You basically won't find any in the Bestiary, while it's pretty trivial to make a PC with those stats even minus a shield. Or, in the other direction, consider how many CR1 enemies have greater than +5 to hit (indicating at least expert proficiency and maximum stat bonus), it's pretty much all of them...

Basically, Paizo didn't design a system capable of supporting PvP-type combats, largely due to armor bonuses being extremely high. For me, this is a pretty big failure of the system that limits design.

Liberty's Edge

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How did we ever survive DnD 1e and 2e where monsters didn't totally follow a ruleset?


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Mark Stratton wrote:

How did we ever survive DnD 1e and 2e where monsters didn't totally follow a ruleset?

We evolved into playing 3e, Pathfinder, and 5e, where they do.


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tivadar27 wrote:
Mark Stratton wrote:

How did we ever survive DnD 1e and 2e where monsters didn't totally follow a ruleset?

We evolved into playing 3e, Pathfinder, and 5e, where they do.

We also tended to use pre-generated tables (yes, I still have my original Dungeons & Dragons™ Monster & Treasure Assortment pack) to create home adventures - because we hadn't seen behind the curtain yet. D&D 3E was an amazing thing when it came out, partly because we suddenly had the toolbox for creating items and monsters.

There is certainly a time and a place for retro gaming - but I'm not sure I'd want that to be my main diet (video or tabletop). A TTRPG with opaque and arbitrary mechanisms is like a CRPG without an automap function... niche.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

OP: Couldn’t you just swap the feats, as long as they are in the same level range you would be good to go?

The way I see it is that the monster rules have actually become easier and less opaque. I hope they keep this approach for us beleaguered DMs, and also offer something rescriptive system for those that want to spend a bunch of time on those sorts of things.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In PF2, I couldn't even say for sure whether these are intended or not simply because it requires a design philosophy that I'm not familiar with, or even understand.

It seems to me that this is the crux of your issue, not that the monsters don't follow PC-like rules. That you don't know the rules the monsters are built by.

We know there are specific guidelines for building monsters, we just haven't been given them. So when we do get them (presumably with the full rules release, at the latest), you actually will be able to see that if a monster has a +50 attack bonus, that attack bonus is wrong. Or if a low-level monster deals 11d6 damage, that that's probably wrong.


Nightwhisper wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In PF2, I couldn't even say for sure whether these are intended or not simply because it requires a design philosophy that I'm not familiar with, or even understand.
It seems to me that this is the crux of your issue, not that the monsters don't follow PC-like rules. That you don't know the rules the monsters are built by.

As a note, this is *not* the crux of my issue, though in fairness, I wasn't the original poster. My issue revolves around the fact that building a monster like you would a PC of the same level as the players and throwing it against them simply doesn't work from a combat perspective. Defenses across the board are generally too high when you do that, and to-hit is way too low.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nightwhisper wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In PF2, I couldn't even say for sure whether these are intended or not simply because it requires a design philosophy that I'm not familiar with, or even understand.
It seems to me that this is the crux of your issue, not that the monsters don't follow PC-like rules. That you don't know the rules the monsters are built by.

It's both.

And we do sorta have access to the rules, they're looking very similar to Starfinder's creation system.


Rysky wrote:
Nightwhisper wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
In PF2, I couldn't even say for sure whether these are intended or not simply because it requires a design philosophy that I'm not familiar with, or even understand.
It seems to me that this is the crux of your issue, not that the monsters don't follow PC-like rules. That you don't know the rules the monsters are built by.

It's both.

And we do sorta have access to the rules, they're looking very similar to Starfinder's creation system.

I agree the rules are close to Starfinder's creation system, but not quite close enough to create consistent monsters for PF2.

Silver Crusade

Rawler wrote:

Echoing the request for exact monster building rules.

I need to figure out what a Cleric of Rovagug’s magic touch attack roll is by like, tonight.

What do you need it to be? Make it that.


GM Paladin wrote:
Rawler wrote:

Echoing the request for exact monster building rules.

I need to figure out what a Cleric of Rovagug’s magic touch attack roll is by like, tonight.

What do you need it to be? Make it that.

Make a Cleric of equal level to the difficulty you want for this enemy. Give the cleric 20 Wisdom or 18 DEX (depending on if it's melee touch attack or spell roll). Calculate the Cleric's modifier, then add +2.

If it's high enough level to where Dueling Gloves are affordable, include that bonus too.


ChibiNyan wrote:
GM Paladin wrote:
Rawler wrote:

Echoing the request for exact monster building rules.

I need to figure out what a Cleric of Rovagug’s magic touch attack roll is by like, tonight.

What do you need it to be? Make it that.

Make a Cleric of equal level to the difficulty you want for this enemy. Give the cleric 20 Wisdom or 18 DEX (depending on if it's melee touch attack or spell roll). Calculate the Cleric's modifier, then add +2.

If it's high enough level to where Dueling Gloves are affordable, include that bonus too.

This won't actually work. Monster and PCs don't play by the same set of stats.


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tivadar27 wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
GM Paladin wrote:
Rawler wrote:

Echoing the request for exact monster building rules.

I need to figure out what a Cleric of Rovagug’s magic touch attack roll is by like, tonight.

What do you need it to be? Make it that.

Make a Cleric of equal level to the difficulty you want for this enemy. Give the cleric 20 Wisdom or 18 DEX (depending on if it's melee touch attack or spell roll). Calculate the Cleric's modifier, then add +2.

If it's high enough level to where Dueling Gloves are affordable, include that bonus too.
This won't actually work. Monster and PCs don't play by the same set of stats.

Yes, but ChibiNyan here has given you instructions that solve the main differences:

* The attack stat is always maximized, enemies don't have bad attacks. You treat it as maximized for the calculation even if their stat block shows it as lower.

* If it's the right level for a magical item, they get the bonus, even if they don't have the item for the PCs to loot

* Their attacks get another +2 for being not PCs.

Those are the main differences. At higher levels, throw on another +1-+5 depending on how deadly you want it.


Ahh sorry, yeah, I missed the additional "+2" there. I'd imagine that equation should suffice, so fair enough.

Also, is there any reasonable reason they didn't just have ACs start at 8... That would solve basically all the problems here. Adjust attack rolls of enemies down by 2 and everything's fixed.


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Taranios wrote:
..but as a DM I cherish consistency in the beastiary, so I can easily tailor certain monsters as I see fit, within the rules of the game. If I want the final boss to be a lvl 20 Fighter Pig, it's kinda important to know where his final +5 hit came from.

As do I. If monsters have a rule like "Unlike humanoids, most monsters don't get to use most treasure, and as such have bonuses to compensate" then I'd like to know the bonuses (and have them spelled out, and maybe in the front where more will see it, and not the back). And for anything which could be legal for a player to use player-legal rules (looking at the Drow, though they're not legal yet, and the NPCs in the back). Also, reworking monsters is important

Note: I've seen this system compared to Starfinder monsters, especially by Jason Bulmahn. I really hope this changes. 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).

(Note, for some reference: In 1e, when I make a houserule like "use background skills" or "weapon finesse for free", I take any stock NPC I was going to use and apply the houserules to it, even though no one will notice, just because I feel rules should be consistent and fair.)

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
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.


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I have firm faith in that all in-game units (Creatures, in the d20 ruleset) generated using the same general rules, sprinkled with small unique exceptions as traits of character, is the biggest strength (and point of playing) a pen-and-paper roleplaying game has over a computer-run one.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lucas Yew wrote:
I have firm faith in that all in-game units (Creatures, in the d20 ruleset) generated using the same general rules, sprinkled with small unique exceptions as traits of character, is the biggest strength (and point of playing) a pen-and-paper roleplaying game has over a computer-run one.

OK, faith is something you have in things that don't exist but you wish they did. What are your practical, non-emotional arguments for this?


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Well, it lessens/prevents awkward situations such as...

* Player vigorously accusing GM of cheating with statistics of a PC-race NPC, that looks and acts like something very similar to a member of PC-classes in flavor but not in practice

* Players getting disappointed when NPC numbers are vastly superior to PC's, and get to see no point in playing with measly digits their characters barely scratched up to play with

Actually, I am perfectly willing to compromise on this topic (NPC-transparency) if the final product version of PF2 ends up with a transparency level that is "as 5E, but with NPC proficiency bonus keyed to Hit Dice instead of CRs," especially for PC-playable races and filler-PC convertable characters. Special abilities that looks exclusive to such NPCs should be allowed by word to word as Uncommon+ feats/spells and such (it's a perfect opportunity to utilize that rarity system). Totally unplayable creatures like true dragons getting GM-friendly arbitrary bonuses, I care about much less.


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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.


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.

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