How do I make monsters, please?


Rules Discussion


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I have a concern. I've looked through the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary for 2E, and I can't find any rules for building monsters or NPC for that matter(adide from building NPCs long form, which I don't think we're doing anymore.) I looked at the Pathfinder rulebook schedule, and it looks like the next release is the Gamemastery Guide in mid January. Do we have to wait 5-6 months before we learn how to craft npcs and custom monsters?

The game doesn't seem ready to play without that, since not all of us run the APs.


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Drakli wrote:


The game doesn't seem ready to play without that, since not all of us run the APs.

Apparently all the monsters in the Beastiary are also not usable?

If you need an npc you can build them like a PC or just have them be an npc with whatever stats you want to fit their role, you don't need to follow explicit rules to create them, never have.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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We'll have full rules and advice for building monsters in the upcoming Gamemastery Guide. I know that's not ideal for the first few months, alas, but it's the best we could do.

In the meantime, one way you could "fake" it is to simply rename monsters from the Bestairy; simply rename and describe a monster differently and you've got something that in the short term will keep your players guessing.

We're also loading up each Adventure Path installment with new monsters and stat blocks too; that's a great place to farm additional creatures. Even if you're not running the adventure, you can pull out the stat blocks for your own use however you wish.


While the full guide is in the GMG, building most monsters isn't that hard. Just pick a monster that's similar and swap out some abilities.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As an example of how easy it is to intuitively make monsters (even without guidelines) here is a quick homebrew monster I made in less than 5 minutes.

I used a Kobold as the chassis and tweaked some numbers. Keeping vital things like HP, AC, to-hit and damage with 1-2 points of the base.

Mycar Verminmould Creature -1
N Tiny Fungus Mycar
Perception -1 Tremorsense (30ft Imprecise)
Skills Athletics +5, Stealth +5
Str +2 Dex +2 Con +0 Int -4 Wis -4 Cha -2

AC: 15 For +3 Ref +5 Will -1
HP: 8 Resistance: Bludgeoning 5 Weakness: Fire 5
Mindless: Mycar lack a mind to be manipulated. They automatically Critical Succeed against any effect with the Mental trait.

Speed: 15ft
Melee: 1A: Thump 1d4+2B
2A: Release Spores Effect: The Mycar releases spores in a 15ft Cone. Each npn-fungus creature in the cone suffers the Mycar Spores affliction with a DC of 14.
Free: Sporesplosion Trigger: When killed. Effect: The Mycar releases spores in a 5ft burst centered on itself. Each non-fungus creature in the cone suffers the Mycar Spores affliction with a DC of 14.

Flickering Flames: If hit with any Fire damage the Mycar loses its Release Spores and Sporeslposion abilities for 4 rounds. During this time the emit light as a torch as new spores continually catch alight, leaving flickering flames.

And for reference the Mycar Spores affliction:

Mycar Spores Variable
Inhaled, Ingested
Saving Throw DC 15+Source Level Fort Onset: 1 Day
Stage 1: 1d4 Poison damage (1HR)
Stage 2: 2d4 Poison and Slowed 1 (1HR)
Stage 3: 2d6 Poison and Paralyzed (1HR)

If a living creature dies whilst infected with Mycar Spores its body will become a Mycar within 24 hours.


I was sad not to see a chart of typical modifiers for CR.

Maybe someone in the community can create a handy chart showing averages from the Bestiary in the meantime?


James Jacobs wrote:
We'll have full rules and advice for building monsters in the upcoming Gamemastery Guide. I know that's not ideal for the first few months, alas, but it's the best we could do.

Good to know. Thanks.

So building the Help Hound with official rules will have to wait for a few months.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

If you mean the Hell Hound, it's in the Bestiary, p.205.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Now I want stats for Help Hounds though.


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I don't know why but when I read Help Hounds I immediately thought of a Hell Hound with human hands. That uses it's hands to assist you.


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BlueMagnusStormCrow wrote:
I don't know why but when I read Help Hounds I immediately thought of a Hell Hound with human hands. That uses it's hands to assist you.

And can make S'mores on demand!


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I was picturing more of a Monkey's Paw kind of deal. An outsider that is summoned to help you with exactly what you said you wanted, in ways that you definitely don't want it.


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Vlorax wrote:


Apparently all the monsters in the Beastiary are also not usable?

If you need an npc you can build them like a PC or just have them be an npc with whatever stats you want to fit their role, you don't need to follow explicit rules to create them, never have.

The Bestiary's fine for dungeon crawls and the like.

For Do-It-Yourself-ers who might want to craft a base of operations for a campaign, the lack of NPC Building rules is a serious blow. And Pathfinder 1E did, in fact, have explicit rules for NPC creation in its Core Rulebook, such as different ability score arrays for Basic and Heroic characters and rules for subsequent CRs to ensure game balance.

The lack of this at the start of 2E is kinda disappointing to me.


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You can always use PC creation rules to make NPCs for your game. If you want them weaker just take away the four 1st level stat boosts.

And tbh most NPCs just don’t need that level of effort to build. Give them a level appropriate DCs/skills for the few things you need them to do and be done with it. If you do need them to fight then go like above and use the PC rules. After all that is what NPCs were in PF1 but just with inferior classes like noble and warrior.

Liberty's Edge

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GM Piratey Steve wrote:

The Bestiary's fine for dungeon crawls and the like.

For Do-It-Yourself-ers who might want to craft a base of operations for a campaign, the lack of NPC Building rules is a serious blow. And Pathfinder 1E did, in fact, have explicit rules for NPC creation in its Core Rulebook, such as different ability score arrays for Basic and Heroic characters and rules for subsequent CRs to ensure game balance.

The lack of this at the start of 2E is kinda disappointing to me.

Using the PC rules for NPCs is entirely rules legal, and even recommended for important enough ones. That ought to tide us over on this front until the official guidelines.

I wouldn't recommend 'powering them down' though. Level has a specific mechanical significance right now and fiddling with that is a bad idea. If you want not very powerful NPCs, just make them low level.


So I've known we weren't gonna get monster/NPC building rules for a while now, but you know what I surprised about? They seem to have taken out the hazard building rules we had in the playtest bestiary. That's kind of a pain, especially given how easy the hazard table made it to improv hazards on the fly.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Nothing stops you from using Heroic Array or Basic array from PF1 to make your NPC...I mean, it's really not that hard. For combat npcs.

Quite honestly, if the npc isn't going to have a combat role, you can just assign them a level and it will serves as the DC for skill check. Now you can tweak things around, if Bob happens to be very good at sense motive, just consider him an expert (adjust dc as appropriate for an attempt to lie to him).

Re-skinning monsters is probably an easy way to make combat npcs as mentioned by James Jacobs.

An Ogre can easily become a big bulky strong guy for your village or organization.


Help Hounds. Isn't this similar to how we got the Eye of Robes?
I want stats on this...uh... stat!


James Jacobs wrote:
Now I want stats for Help Hounds though.

I'm thinking give blink dogs the ability to teleport as part of the aid action and some pack attack ability (like canines in playtest had) but they give it to allies they flank with rather than benefit themselves.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Not in the Core Rulebook? I understand that.

Not in the Bestiary? I don't understand that as much, but okay.

Not in anything for the first few months? Not even available as a pdf to save on space in the main books? Not even by the first wave of books after GenCon? That's... lame.

Grand Lodge

I’ll just be reskining things and building npcs like PCs which I’ve always done


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Pinstripedbarbarian wrote:

Not in the Core Rulebook? I understand that.

Not in the Bestiary? I don't understand that as much, but okay.

Not in anything for the first few months? Not even available as a pdf to save on space in the main books? Not even by the first wave of books after GenCon? That's... lame.

Launch was 1,000 pages of core rulebook and bestiary. One thousand pages. The Bestiary has over 400 entries. It's fine.

GameMastery Guide is the next rulebook, and somehow it's still coming out this year, so it's basically as soon as it was ever going to be. Pathfinder 1 didn't launch with the Bestiary because of time constraints. Tons of tabletop games launch without anything like a Bestiary.

The setting books/adventure paths/etc. aren't the limiting factor in publishing time.

There's plenty to do, and frankly, adjusting monsters is so much easier because they focus can be on flavorful abilities, not spend a bunch of time looking through rules on hit dice size per monster type and deciding how much natural armor you need to include to make it not terrible. A great side effect are all the variant skeletons and zombies and the like that take basically no extra space to include because you can just pick and choose which of the extra things to give them.


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breithauptclan wrote:
So building the Help Hound with official rules will have to wait for a few months.

I'm a good little doggy!

Silver Crusade

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James Jacobs wrote:
Now I want stats for Help Hounds though.

There is a "dinosaur fort" level of want for "Help Hounds".

Silver Crusade

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Give us the helper doggos please

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And we shall call them Doug.

Squirrel !!!


And bling dogs.


BlueMagnusStormCrow wrote:
I don't know why but when I read Help Hounds I immediately thought of a Hell Hound with human hands. That uses it's hands to assist you.

I thought of dogs made out of sentient gloves serving their master the Hamburger Helper Helping Hand... so yours isn't that off the wall.

Silver Crusade

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From folklore there's the Wulver, a wolf humanoid from Scotland that loved to fish and would leave fish on the window sill of the poor.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

Merged Duplicate Threads


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well, what's done is done.

But I'll argue that the Core Rulebook, the engine of what makes the game go, is the perfect place for rules on crafting and modifying monsters as well as combat neccessary NPCs (ones that aren't made long form like PCs.)

Certainly the Rulebook is a better place for a chapter on that than one on Golarion lore, nations, and geography.

It's possible that I'm a bit biased, mind you. My favorite part of D20 games has always been monsters and tinkering with them.

Also, I'm sorry if I implied the Bestiary was useless. It's not. But it's limited in the DIY area. If I want a hobgoblin platoon to be lead by a priest of war, I know I can fudge it or substitute, but that's not the point. Anything can be fudged.


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To help with monster creation until we get the GMG, I put together a spreadsheet:

Basic data on all monsters in the Second Edition Bestiary


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
tqomins wrote:
To help with monster creation until we get the GMG, I put together a spreadsheet:

Wow, that's pretty cool! That helps us get the benchmarks pretty nicely! It's a good start.

Looks kind of like you are the Help Hound!


James Jacobs wrote:

We'll have full rules and advice for building monsters in the upcoming Gamemastery Guide. I know that's not ideal for the first few months, alas, but it's the best we could do.

In the meantime, one way you could "fake" it is to simply rename monsters from the Bestairy; simply rename and describe a monster differently and you've got something that in the short term will keep your players guessing.

We're also loading up each Adventure Path installment with new monsters and stat blocks too; that's a great place to farm additional creatures. Even if you're not running the adventure, you can pull out the stat blocks for your own use however you wish.

Sounds good. I definitely want some monster building rules for the Second Edition.


James Jacobs wrote:
Now I want stats for Help Hounds though.

Heh. It is an inside joke from the playtest forums. The same thread that gave us the Dinosaur Fort.

Though I did actually create stats for a Help Hound, but it was using the Starfinder monster creation rules.

I can't find the playtest forums any more, so I can't link to it.


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Hah. I found them in my posting archives.

Help Hound request

Help Hound stats

Silver Crusade

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Somewhat related, and maybe I missed it, but in regard to summoning spells and monster creation; if there's not a monster of the level, what does one use for a common monster of that level? Just a random monster that now has the proper trait based on the spell you're using?

I ask because I have a player that's interested in playing conjurer and tinkering around with constructs, but there aren't that many in the bestiary that I can see, as of yet, and I don't want to dissuade them from playing the idea.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

You would have to make them up.

Also, all constructs past level 8 are Uncommon and higher in rarity in the bestiary, and as mentioned in the core rulebook anything Uncommon and higher is essentially dependent on the GM.

If you play once a week or whatever, it probably won't be an issue, I doubt your player will reach level 8 before January, just in time for the Game Mastery Guide with the rules for monster creation.


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Arrendis Lionheart wrote:

Somewhat related, and maybe I missed it, but in regard to summoning spells and monster creation; if there's not a monster of the level, what does one use for a common monster of that level? Just a random monster that now has the proper trait based on the spell you're using?

I ask because I have a player that's interested in playing conjurer and tinkering around with constructs, but there aren't that many in the bestiary that I can see, as of yet, and I don't want to dissuade them from playing the idea.

Take one that's 1 above or below and apply Weak or Elite.

Silver Crusade

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lordcirth wrote:
Arrendis Lionheart wrote:

Somewhat related, and maybe I missed it, but in regard to summoning spells and monster creation; if there's not a monster of the level, what does one use for a common monster of that level? Just a random monster that now has the proper trait based on the spell you're using?

I ask because I have a player that's interested in playing conjurer and tinkering around with constructs, but there aren't that many in the bestiary that I can see, as of yet, and I don't want to dissuade them from playing the idea.

Take one that's 1 above or below and apply Weak or Elite.

That's not a bad idea.

Also Bestiary 2 has been announced for March (or was it May?) and one of the main points of it was to deal with the current lack of summons.


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

I get the whole switching out "theme" to make NPC's.. That or take NPC's from the AP's is what I'll most likely do, but it would be nice to see a generic stat block for Common Human NPC's that you'd find in a city.. Guards, thugs, bandits, Militia etc.

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