Determining monster SLA caster level, skills, etc...


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I have a few questions, but I will try keep this as organized as possible...

1. How do monsters get skills that are not given by their race? Can monsters "buy" new class skill proficiency at the cost of "spending" skill ranks?

Example:
A particular FEY monster has Disable Device, Intimidate, and Spellcraft as listed skills, and the appropriate proficiency bonus included in the stats...

When reverse engineering the skill bonuses backwards, I found a monster had 9 skill points that were not spent... but, this same monster has three skills as class skills that are not part of its racial skillset, two of which are "Trained-Only" skills.

2a. How is the Caster Level determined for SLA's? Is it based off of the lowest level of a casting class required to cast that particular spell? Is it linked to the monster's HD by a set formula?

2b. What happens if you advance the monster's HD, is there an established algorithm for advancing the CL of its SLA's?

3. Do all FEY over a certain HD receive the Grace deflection bonus to AC and CMD equal to its Charisma modifier?

Example:
A particular FEY monster has a +7 Charisma modifier, and happens to have a +7 deflection bonus listed in its AC (that is reflected in its CMD, as well). However, there is no listing for the Grace Su. ability, or a definition of where this deflection bonus is coming from... it just happens to match the Charisma modifier. And other FEY monsters are known to get some form of Grace deflection bonus equal to their Charisma modifiers.


1- Don't bother reverse engineering it. They have whatever is listed. If you, as the GM, want them to have more or less skills/feats, give it to them and don't worry about it except in terms of it potentially increasing/decreasing their difficulty rating.

2 all parts - As per the rules for SLA in the bestiary "If no caster level is specified, the caster level is equal to the creature's Hit Dice. The saving throw (if any) against a spell-like ability is 10 + the level of the spell the ability resembles or duplicates + the creature's Charisma modifier."

3- no idea


Joey Cote wrote:

1- Don't bother reverse engineering it. They have whatever is listed. If you, as the GM, want them to have more or less skills/feats, give it to them and don't worry about it except in terms of it potentially increasing/decreasing their difficulty rating.

2 all parts - As per the rules for SLA in the bestiary "If no caster level is specified, the caster level is equal to the creature's Hit Dice. The saving throw (if any) against a spell-like ability is 10 + the level of the spell the ability resembles or duplicates + the creature's Charisma modifier."

3- no idea

Thank you.

As for question 2b, though...

If the creature DOES have a CL listed, then it is stuck there regardless of any increase in HD?


VoodistMonk wrote:

I have a few questions, but I will try keep this as organized as possible...

1. How do monsters get skills that are not given by their race? Can monsters "buy" new class skill proficiency at the cost of "spending" skill ranks?

Example:
A particular FEY monster has Disable Device, Intimidate, and Spellcraft as listed skills, and the appropriate proficiency bonus included in the stats...

When reverse engineering the skill bonuses backwards, I found a monster had 9 skill points that were not spent... but, this same monster has three skills as class skills that are not part of its racial skillset, two of which are "Trained-Only" skills.

The creature type lists what skills are class skills. It also states skill ranks per HD.

The creature's HD then determines their skill point allocation.
Racial bonuses also apply, and some things like having a swim speed means a +8 to swim, and having a fly speed means having fly as a class skill, and so on. Dn't forget that size can affect skill ratings, as can feats and stats.

Having no ranks in a skill that is a class skill often happens.

Some creatures have a list that ends in "plus 4 assorted skills". This means that they get four additional class skills. Generally these include all skills with some ranks that are not already covered by the list.

If you provide the creature name, I can show you the breakdown. If you don't want anyone to know, send a private note.

VoodistMonk wrote:
2a. How is the Caster Level determined for SLA's? Is it based off of the lowest level of a casting class required to cast that particular spell? Is it linked to the monster's HD by a set formula?

If not stated in the description somewhere, it is the same as the number of HD. The exception is a classed creature with SLA's based of the class. Those would use the class CL.

VoodistMonk wrote:
2b. What happens if you advance the monster's HD, is there an established algorithm for advancing the CL of its SLA's?

I have generally seen +1 HD = +1 CL.

VoodistMonk wrote:

3. Do all FEY over a certain HD receive the Grace deflection bonus to AC and CMD equal to its Charisma modifier?

Example:
A particular FEY monster has a +7 Charisma modifier, and happens to have a +7 deflection bonus listed in its AC (that is reflected in its CMD, as well). However, there is no listing for the Grace Su. ability, or a definition of where this deflection bonus is coming from... it just happens to match the Charisma modifier. And other FEY monsters are known to get some form of Grace deflection bonus equal to their Charisma modifiers.

Again, state the name of the creature and we can check.

/cevah


VoodistMonk wrote:
Joey Cote wrote:

1- Don't bother reverse engineering it. They have whatever is listed. If you, as the GM, want them to have more or less skills/feats, give it to them and don't worry about it except in terms of it potentially increasing/decreasing their difficulty rating.

2 all parts - As per the rules for SLA in the bestiary "If no caster level is specified, the caster level is equal to the creature's Hit Dice. The saving throw (if any) against a spell-like ability is 10 + the level of the spell the ability resembles or duplicates + the creature's Charisma modifier."

3- no idea

Thank you.

As for question 2b, though...

If the creature DOES have a CL listed, then it is stuck there regardless of any increase in HD?

It is best to judge this on a case by case basis. Not just monster to monster, but from campaign to campaign. A party with a lot of magic items with players focused on raising saves is a lot different than a group that plays the iconic characters and only uses magic items found as loot.

The goal is of course to keep things challenging without making something way over powered. Spot checking the PCs every few levels to see what their combat stats look like should give you an idea of what fits inside of those parameters.


@Cevah
It's the Bogeyman.
He does not have any sort of Grace ability listed, but he has the CHA bonus to AC... unexplained, even looking at the Fey description.

@Meirrill
It's not that he NEEDS to have the Caster Level increase in this particular case... BUT, I wanted to make sure I build him correctly. I'm trying to make it as legit as possible.

At this point, the party better have their $#!+ together, because they're in the final chapter.

When I get him completely fleshed out, he is going to be a true monster no matter what. I want to make sure I cover all the bases making it a legitimate progression from the base creature into what he may become, in the right order, and advancing everything as it honestly should.


VoodistMonk wrote:

It's the Bogeyman.

He does not have any sort of Grace ability listed, but he has the CHA bonus to AC... unexplained, even looking at the Fey description.

Fey get 6 + Int modifier skill points per Hit Die. The bogeyman gets (6+2)*17 (=136) skill points. Here is the breakdown:

Bluff +27 = Cha 7 Ranks 17 Class 3
Diplomacy +20 = Cha 7 Ranks 10 Class 3
Disable Device +15 = Dex 5 Ranks 10
Escape Artist +18 = Dex 5 Ranks 10 Class 3
Intimidate +28 = Cha 7 Ranks 17 Racial 4
Knowledge (local) +16 = Int 2 Ranks 11 Class 3
Perception +23 = Wis 3 Ranks 17 Class 3
Sense Motive +23 = Wis 3 Ranks 17 Class 3
Spellcraft +12 = Int 2 Ranks 10
Stealth +35 = Dex 5 Ranks 17 Class 3 Racial 4 Focus 6
Total ranks allocated = 136. All ranks used.

You had previously asked:

VoodistMonk wrote:

Can monsters "buy" new class skill proficiency at the cost of "spending" skill ranks?

...
I found a monster had 9 skill points that were not spent.

You do not buy the skill as a class skill, you just invest in it. This accounts for your missing 9 points, since the three skills are not class skills.

I do not know where the deflection bonus comes from.

/cevah


I think the other questions have been addressed so I will just talk about this one.

VoodistMonk wrote:
3. Do all FEY over a certain HD receive the Grace deflection bonus to AC and CMD equal to its Charisma modifier?

The author may have thought this was the case. However, there is nothing about fey creatures that universally gives them their charisma modifier as a deflection bonus to AC. It's not even listed as something that creatures with the fey template can get. The closest I could find to something like that is that all Wild Hunt creatures (A subtype of Fey) do get an ability called Wild Grace. Wild Grace gives the creature a defection bonus equal to their charisma modifier.

The bogeyman however, is not a wild hunt creature. It not only doesn't make sense from a lore standpoint but the bogeyman lacks many of the other traits that wild hunt creatures get (immunity to cold and greensight for example).

Now, as you've noticed it is true that many mid to high CR fey get a deflection bonus equal to their charisma modifier. Lampads and Kamaitachi for example get this sort of bonus though abilities that are essentially reflavored "grace" abilities. So, it seems very likely that the bogeyman's deflection bonus is based on it's charisma. The author just forgot to give it an ability that explains this or they assumed that its something all fey get automatically.

So I think it's reasonable to work with the assumption that its deflection bonus is equal to it's charisma modifier. So, if it's charisma happens to go up, its deflection bonus would increase accordingly.

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