I must have missed it, but how does PF2 advance monsters?


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Liberty's Edge

Kasoh wrote:

I realize that this is a personal thing that other people don't consider a big deal, and I don't begrudge people not entirely following me there, but its something like...

To make the math work, the NPC needs a damage value of X, where X is what the table says it should be. When building the NPC, you can add Str, weapon spec, rage, or whatever you please until it matches the value. And sure, you do what you gotta do. But if you're at a point where you need more, you grab Greater Weapon Spec normally a 15th level ability for fighters, on say, a level 11 NPC. That's just a cheat to make the math work. You don't even need to write any of that out. You can just write the value from the table in call it a one action ability called 'Longsword Two Fold Slash' and not worry about where all that damage is coming from.

For home-built monsters, you could do this in PF1, as well, going by the CR table. It wasn't good policy, IMO, and felt unsatisfying, and likewise in PF2...but that's not how monster damage is actually built in the Bestiaries. I mean, it mostly is with natural attacks (though even there, they always add at least their Str as a flat mod), but weapon attacks are built by taking an actual weapon damage, and then adding things PCs could have (albeit sometimes at earlier levels, in the case of Weapon Specialization).

Given how few options the "NPC" Class gives you, I don't think it giving you Weapon Specialization early is super unbalancing, and I find that thinking of NPC as a somewhat modular Class in this way really eases the transition between PF1 and PF2.

Kasoh wrote:
That, I feel, is fundamentally different from where if you want a certain damage expression in PF1, you had to add STR until you had that +10 modifier or you add more HD to get a feat to add damage, or...you give up and just give it bonus feats or a weird racial ability to make it work. An NPC couldn't have Greater Weapon Specialization without someway to qualify as a Fighter 12 or bypass that prereq.

Sure, but you could (and did) have plenty of monsters that just added 'counts as a level X Fighter for Feat Prerequisites' to their abilities in PF1 so they could do this. Or similarly obvious math fixers

Look at the Erlking. It literally just has Greater Weapon Specialization to round out it's damage...pretty arbitrarily (and counts as a 20th level Fighter for Feat prerequisites). It also has constant Haste for no specific reason and several other weird cheats. Stuff like that it actually pretty ubiquitous in PF1 creatures to make the math work.

Kasoh wrote:
The paper thin justification made me happy. In ways that probably don't make sense. That the creature's stat block represented an adherence to the system that the players participated in.

You can still do this, if you like. I mean, you can work out what all the modifiers would be if you worked them out like PCs and then apply additional 'Racial Bonuses' or 'This creature adds Cha modifier to all Saves' or 'This creature receives Weapon Specialization at X level' or similar arbitrary bonuses to round them out just like PF1 did.

I mean, it sounds like generally a lot of work for no in-play advantage, but if it makes you happy you should 100% do it.

Hell, I might even be inclined to do so if I really cared about a specific monster (knowing where all their bonuses are coming from might even be something you can make relevant under some circumstances...defining some of them as constant Status bonuses makes Antimagic Field more relevant, for example, something I for one am very inclined to do on, say, the Hamadryad's high social skills).

Kasoh wrote:
That's not to say the new system is wrong for doing it the way it does. Its the way it has to be. I just don't think people should say its similar to how PF1 did it. Its very different and we shouldn't pretend otherwise. (Which maybe no one said and now I'm just imagining a strange world where I'm having two different conversations at once.)

It is similar in most ways. I agree that it's different in one specific way that you seem to find very important, but in terms of outcomes it's very similar indeed, and doesn't actually involve more fudging, just less attempts to justify said fudging.

Design Manager

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Ckorik wrote:

The dirty secret here is that monsters in both systems can be made the same way.

No - the dirty secret is that monsters in PF1 seem to generally have been made the same way then reverse engineered to fit the build system - with fiddly things added or stuffed in to make it work. The fact that idiots like myself would then would pick things apart and find errors prolly was a never ending source of annoyance.

The really dirty secret - is that monsters (as they progress) in PF1 had a TON of feats that get ignored or forgotten because it's hard to remember all the moving parts at higher levels. Making monsters simpler doesn't really change the nature of how they end up in the chart - but it does make it easier to run them as a GM at higher levels - and that's a super bonus in my opinion.

Even though I kind of like the old system for the same reason as you - it was satisfying, the new system is at least more honest about where it comes from and what it's trying to do.

As the one gathering errata for PF1 Bestiaries, I was grateful for the folks who found the math errors so we could get it right. There were definitely sentiments of frustration that the system was such that those kind of errata were necessary, but no one was frustrated with you :)


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Mark Seifter wrote:

As the one gathering errata for PF1 Bestiaries, I was grateful for the folks who found the math errors so we could get it right. There were definitely sentiments of frustration that the system was such that those kind of errata were necessary, but no one was frustrated with you :)

Thanks for that ;)

For what it's worth - you guys rock.


Kasoh wrote:
Like when Starfinder came out and enemies shot better, hit harder, and had better skill modifiers than PCs just because, that's annoying to me. (Annoying to my players too.) 5e does it too, and Pathfinder 2e does it because its more designer friendly, as I understand.

I agree on your frustrated depression as a simulationist, even while accepting that the ship has sailed. Hell, looking at the different nuances for PC Lizardfolk and NPC versions' swim speed stuffs make me want some drinks (even when I detest alcohol)...

Alas though, the world is not kind for simmies. I accepted that, and will stalwartly keep on gathering data for creating the ultimate dream sandbox RPG rules that makes everything work on a unified rule structure...

Liberty's Edge

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Lucas Yew wrote:
Hell, looking at the different nuances for PC Lizardfolk and NPC versions' swim speed stuffs make me want some drinks (even when I detest alcohol)...

Slight tangent, but PC Lizardfolk's Swim Speed is actually within the range of statted NPCs (it's identical to the Lizardfolk Defender). Other Lizardfolk are faster, but assuming that they can take something like Fleet but for Swim Speed isn't exactly a huge leap.

There are a few of these PC/NPC divisions that are legitimately an issue (the range of leshy seedpods, for example) but they're actually few and far between thus far.

Which is to say, as someone with simulationist tendencies myself, I think most listed NPCs and monsters in PF2 work fine with a simulationist philosophy as long as you're willing to put yourself into a headspace where you think of them as using a somewhat flexible and freeform 'NPC Class' that sometimes gets particular things at much earlier levels than PCs do, at the expense of versatility, rather than trying to fit them into PC class options precisely.

That's basically what they are doing in many ways, after all...

Liberty's Edge

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Lucas Yew wrote:
Hell, looking at the different nuances for PC Lizardfolk and NPC versions' swim speed stuffs make me want some drinks (even when I detest alcohol)...

Slight tangent, but PC Lizardfolk's Swim Speed is actually within the range of statted NPCs (it's identical to the Lizardfolk Defender). Other Lizardfolk are faster, but assuming that they can take something like Fleet but for Swim Speed isn't exactly a huge leap.

There are a few of these PC/NPC divisions that are legitimately an issue (the range of leshy seedpods, for example) but they're actually few and far between thus far.

Which is to say, as someone with simulationist tendencies myself, I think most listed NPCs and monsters in PF2 work fine with a simulationist philosophy as long as you're willing to put yourself into a headspace where you think of them as using a somewhat flexible and freeform 'NPC Class' that sometimes gets particular things at much earlier levels than PCs do, at the expense of versatility, rather than trying to fit them into PC class options precisely.

That's basically what they are doing in many ways, after all...

How can I grab this "NPC class" so that I can sacrifice my PC's versatility on the altar of their combat efficiency? ;-)

Which does raise a point though as I hate the idea that monsters and NPCs exist only to fight PCs or, even worse, are built specifically for that.

Is the risk of this higher or lower in PF2 compared to PF1?


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The Raven Black wrote:

How can I grab this "NPC class" so that I can sacrifice my PC's versatility on the altar of their combat efficiency? ;-)

Which does raise a point though as I hate the idea that monsters and NPCs exist only to fight PCs or, even worse, are built specifically for that.

Is the risk of this higher or lower in PF2 compared to PF1?

You cannot take NPC levels because if you did ‘sacrifice your versatility’ you’d be on your phone scrolling memes for half the session.

Ever seen someone ‘sacrificing versatility for numbers’ who was actually playing outside of his niche?

Liberty's Edge

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The Raven Black wrote:
How can I grab this "NPC class" so that I can sacrifice my PC's versatility on the altar of their combat efficiency? ;-)

The thing is that it really doesn't make you much better at combat. Not as compared to Fighter or other really combat focused PC Classes anyway. Really, the numbers wind up very comparable to an optimal Fighter for the most part. Some Saves may wind up higher, but they never get Evasion or similar things and the lack of most combat related Feats makes their actual DPR worse in general. Their special actions are sometimes on par with such Feats, but tend to be more limited in number with fairly narrow ranges of efficacy.

There's potential for some brokenness if you allow weapons and armor to stack on top of the 'NPC Stuff', but that's the only real issue in terms of them being 'more powerful', at least at lower levels.

At higher levels, Extreme numbers can exceed a Fighter, but usually only very slightly (by +1 at most levels, or +2 on a few others, at least assuming the Fighter has a shield and willingness to use it). I don't think giving up all my Feats for +1 to hit and +1 AC is a great life choice, even in a game where that bonus is as meaningful as PF2 (it's a better deal at +2, but IMO not worth it even then).

The Raven Black wrote:

Which does raise a point though as I hate the idea that monsters and NPCs exist only to fight PCs or, even worse, are built specifically for that.

Is the risk of this higher or lower in PF2 compared to PF1?

I think it's actually lower. They can easily give NPCs skills well outside what a PC of the same combat level could achieve, and indeed do so in the GMG as appropriate, and that makes non-combat focused NPCs easier, and giving combat focused ones non-combat options is certainly no harder, and often easier if they fall into certain creature types (anything that got low Skill Points in PF1, since you can now just give them more skills if you like).


The Raven Black wrote:


Which does raise a point though as I hate the idea that monsters and NPCs exist only to fight PCs or, even worse, are built specifically for that.

Is the risk of this higher or lower in PF2 compared to PF1?

One of the stated goals of the new npc system as it stands - is that they don't need to justify npc's existence with a statblock. NPCs can exist without the need to fight at all.

What does that mean? Well NPC lizardfolk villages can exist without any statblocks at all. The (age old) problem is when the players decide that there is going to be a fight anyway.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

But it also does away with the age-old problem: if you wanted a great NPC Smith with Profession (blacksmith) +20, you needed her to be level 10 at least (unless cheese was involved) and have enough HP to more readily survive a fireball than a level 5 veteran adventurer.

Liberty's Edge

I was more thinking of NPCs or creatures built with choices that made them one-encounter combat monsters but that made them completely ineffective at anything else. Or build choices even the worst powergamer would have refused because they only provided immediate DPR ability at the cost of surviving beyond one encounter.

I had the intuition that PF2 was far less open to this kind of imbalance than PF1 was. It is nice to have DMW confirm that :-)

Customer Service Representative

Removed some posts in reference to another thread that has already been moderated. There is still information over there that might be useful, but I'm going to be watching this thread to make sure it doesn't follow a similar path.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:

I was more thinking of NPCs or creatures built with choices that made them one-encounter combat monsters but that made them completely ineffective at anything else. Or build choices even the worst powergamer would have refused because they only provided immediate DPR ability at the cost of surviving beyond one encounter.

I had the intuition that PF2 was far less open to this kind of imbalance than PF1 was. It is nice to have DMW confirm that :-)

I would say this is only really true if you consider skill feats. Most NPCs probably have them, but they aren't worth putting in the statblock. For example, an NPC hermit probably has Forager, but unless you plan to have him roll to feed the party you don't actually need to bother including it. You just say they can feed themselves in the wild.


Gorbacz wrote:
But it also does away with the age-old problem: if you wanted a great NPC Smith with Profession (blacksmith) +20, you needed her to be level 10 at least (unless cheese was involved) and have enough HP to more readily survive a fireball than a level 5 veteran adventurer.

I've never run into that. I've had to figure out hit points due to bar fights/mob situations/etc. only a few dozen times over the years - but hit points and ac was a real issue I had to account for as a GM over the years. I am trying but can't think of a single time I cared what the smithing skill of any npc was.


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Ckorik wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
But it also does away with the age-old problem: if you wanted a great NPC Smith with Profession (blacksmith) +20, you needed her to be level 10 at least (unless cheese was involved) and have enough HP to more readily survive a fireball than a level 5 veteran adventurer.

I've never run into that. I've had to figure out hit points due to bar fights/mob situations/etc. only a few dozen times over the years - but hit points and ac was a real issue I had to account for as a GM over the years. I am trying but can't think of a single time I cared what the smithing skill of any npc was.

"ok, if there's none, can Mr Smith make me a full plate?"

"Yeah, but it'll take a few days."

Implicitly, this seemingly-flavourful conversation is saying that the smith has (price 15000sp, DC18, 1e crafting works with check result x DC = price x days/7) about +300 to Craft, using accelerated crafting (DC28). Players who value simulationism would just bulge their eyes out at finding out someone can forge a full plate in 4 days in first edition.

Clearly, you don't have to care. But to some, the idea of a lv100 NPC asking for the lv1 hero help was actually a big issue.
The answer, clearly, is that his smithing skill is divorced from his combat skill. Something that was not possible in 1e.


Ediwir wrote:

Clearly, you don't have to care. But to some, the idea of a lv100 NPC asking for the lv1 hero help was actually a big issue.

The answer, clearly, is that his smithing skill is divorced from his combat skill. Something that was not possible in 1e.

This is something I've seen people get hung up on. A character's level is a measure of their combat prowess. If you train all the time and have lots of experience fighting creatures, you get really good at it. This is abstracted into "levels." Why can't someone who works all the time at being a really good smith, trying new techniques, continuously challenging themselves etc, increase their "smith" level (i.e. skill proficiency) without ALSO being better at rolling with a sword blow (AC/HP) or swinging a sword?

P2 just allows for rules to do what was reasonable before.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ckorik wrote:
Well NPC lizardfolk villages can exist without any statblocks at all. The (age old) problem is when the players decide that there is going to be a fight anyway.

Yea. But, if this happens, it's so easy to either grab some stats out of the Bestiary or use the charts in the GMG. Although, many women and children lizards wouldn't be much of a fight vs well-armed PCs.

Oh, the humanity. Er...lizardity.


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Kelseus wrote:
Ediwir wrote:

Clearly, you don't have to care. But to some, the idea of a lv100 NPC asking for the lv1 hero help was actually a big issue.

The answer, clearly, is that his smithing skill is divorced from his combat skill. Something that was not possible in 1e.

This is something I've seen people get hung up on. A character's level is a measure of their combat prowess. If you train all the time and have lots of experience fighting creatures, you get really good at it. This is abstracted into "levels." Why can't someone who works all the time at being a really good smith, trying new techniques, continuously challenging themselves etc, increase their "smith" level (i.e. skill proficiency) without ALSO being better at rolling with a sword blow (AC/HP) or swinging a sword?

P2 just allows for rules to do what was reasonable before.

Indeed, by 1e "simulationist" rules, anyone who can craft a full plate in less than a week has more BaB than an epic level Fighter.

By 2e "absolutely unrealistic" rules, the two things are not related.


Ediwir wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
But it also does away with the age-old problem: if you wanted a great NPC Smith with Profession (blacksmith) +20, you needed her to be level 10 at least (unless cheese was involved) and have enough HP to more readily survive a fireball than a level 5 veteran adventurer.

I've never run into that. I've had to figure out hit points due to bar fights/mob situations/etc. only a few dozen times over the years - but hit points and ac was a real issue I had to account for as a GM over the years. I am trying but can't think of a single time I cared what the smithing skill of any npc was.

"ok, if there's none, can Mr Smith make me a full plate?"

"Yeah, but it'll take a few days."

Implicitly, this seemingly-flavourful conversation is saying that the smith has (price 15000sp, DC18, 1e crafting works with check result x DC = price x days/7) about +300 to Craft, using accelerated crafting (DC28). Players who value simulationism would just bulge their eyes out at finding out someone can forge a full plate in 4 days in first edition.

Clearly, you don't have to care. But to some, the idea of a lv100 NPC asking for the lv1 hero help was actually a big issue.
The answer, clearly, is that his smithing skill is divorced from his combat skill. Something that was not possible in 1e.

I'll be honest - I can't recall when I saw an NPC made up just to justify a skill in any Paizo AP.

I can't really find a difference from how Sandpoint npc's are stat'd up - and the NPC's from Age of Ashes 1, or Extinction Curse 1. No expert levels I guess - although I always thought those were to justify high scores for opposed rolls rather than anything else.

I think changing the way those skills work did more about the 'npc stat' problem than anything else - but you know, opinions on the internet and all that.

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