This is a personal couple of thoughts from a very old GM lost in a country where we are still (re)building medieval cathedral. It doesn’t at all reflect anything discussed in whatsoever way with the fantastic Paizo/Lone Sharks team or the tremendous community of forums veterans. Also as a warning: I pretty much only play home games with 4-5 players, so those thoughts are certainly somehow biases by that fact. Ah also, I have a very bad French humor, so if you have pertinent allergies feel free not to keep on reading, no harm done. Ah yes, my English if also very bad. With that I guess I’m done with warnings.
Hi everyone,Since most of us are now starting to play “Core” games, I’m taking the liberty to take two steps back and look at the Core box from a (very) old GM perspective.
This is the world of Tolkien / Forgotten Realms / Golarion / Ravenloft / Gary Gygax’s backyard (bunch of ™ that I shamelessly use without authorization)… that we feel we all have inhabited for decades.
So when Mike and Vic hinted about a “Core” project that would give us all the basic weapons, spells and monsters that inhabit our dreams since we were teens (don’t ask), I was thrilled that I could build on it to create as many home scenarios I as can design (and that is way more than reasonable).
I was sure that we would be covered in terms of boons. Because players they love loots, so I knew that game designers will never forget the Fire Bolt spell and the amazing Great Sword. OK you can debate if it’s really clever to only have one copy of Cure in the whole set… but on the opposite is so cool that they made a point to have all different spells (and you can always proxy your Cure… don’t try to make me believe that you didn’t do it at least once :-)).
As a GM building stories, what made me wait patiently was the MONSTERS. I wanted to be sure that all the iconic ones would make the cut. I mean, who would think of a “Core” medieval fantasy package without a dragon? It’s like France without wine and cheese, and don’t start me on this one. Some things aren’t open for discussion. Period. Those who were gentle enough to read more than a couple of my posts know where I come from: too many Class Decks and not a single Monster Deck…
Yes we are talking about shiny big bad Monsters. Core has 75 of those, if you include story banes. I guess that’s as much as they could fit in the box. Since the very first Monster Manual had some 300 and the Pathfinder Bestiary I some 350 that means that the Beauty Contest had to get 75-80% of the candidates out. Tough crowd. So I knew I had to be ready to see some of our old favorites vanish in thin air. I also knew not everyone has the same wish list, but ultimately, with a few variations, the iconic monsters are pretty much known.
So I made a I-hope-not-so-bad list of 75 “most iconics” monsters and just went to check if coach Vic and draft manager Mike did a good job on building a core “Core” (this is the place where I really had a hard time refraining to make a pun with “encore” that happens to be both a French and English word but unluckily for you I succeeded at my Wisdom 10 check). Ok I made it simple by just checking that at least one member of each major families (demons, dragons…) made the rooster for those families where there is not so much difference between members (trust me a dragon is a dragon), whereas I went more in details for those groups of monsters where history, literacy, fantasy, RPG, films and the like really developed differences between members (i. e. undead is a trait that many different families share: you want to see skeletons, zombies and vampires because they are much further apart than two dragons).
“Without further ado” (yes I know I may have a hard time being synthetic)…
“To make a long story short” (I just love this idiomatic English sentence. I mean in Tolkien-style heroic fantasy, who would want to make a long story short?)…
Out of my 75 list, 36 did make the cut in PACG Core:
Basilisk, Chimera, Big Cat (Lion…), Demon, Devil, Dire Animal, Dragon, Elemental, Gargoyle, Gelatinous Cube, Ghost, Ghoul, Giant Insect, Goblin, Golem, Harpy, Hell Hound, Kobold, Lich, Manticore, Mimic, Minotaur, Mummy, Ogre, Ooze, Skeleton, Snake, Spectre, Swarm (any), Troll, Vampire, Werewolf, Wight, Will-o'-wisp, Wraith and Zombie
39 didn’t make the cut (and somehow were replaced by somehow lesser important ones):
Bugbear, Bulette, Centaur, Cockatrice, Cyclops, Dinosaur, Doppleganger, Drow, Dryad, Dwarf, Genie, Giant, Gnoll, Griffon, Hag, Hobgoblin, Hydra, Intellect Devourer, Kraken, Lamia, Lizardfolk, Medusa, Merfolk, Orc, Owlbear, Purple Worm, Roc, Roper, Rust Monster, Salamander, Shadow, Shambling Mound, Sphinx, Stirge, Tarrasque, Treant, Troglodyte, Unicorn and Yeti
Taking into account that some of them appear in CotCC (like Orc, Roc, Shadow), aren’t compatible IMHO with Core being limited to level 3 (like Purple Worm, Tarrasque), were already highly covered in some pre-Core AP (like Giant, Kraken, Lamia, Sphinx) or could appear in the game as barriers or allies (like Griffon, Roper, Unicorn), we are a bit over 50% coverage of my list.
So pretty good but still there are a dozenish of monsters I really expected to see in Core.
I mean no Centaurs, Drows, Orcs, Gnolls or Treants?
Where can I preorder Core 2 Vic? :-).
Have a great day all...
BTW, Vic can you tell customer care that it seems I'm missing the Dread Gazebo story bane card?
|Vic Wertz Chief Technical Officer|
I'll just note that a big chunk of your "39 that didn't make the cut" are monsters that are way more prevalent in D&D than in Pathfinder.
Absolutely. It was just a bit of nostalgia memorabilia for the fun. Some make limited sense in Golarion. However I thought the exercise was fun.
The monsters aren't anywhere near as shiny as the delicious boons you can get.
You like shiny boons whereas I like shiny monsters? This is why you shall forever be the player whereas I shall forever be your master.