Pathfinder 2 Updates -- How Big Should The Bestiary Be? ... And Other Stories
  • Pathfinder 2 Updates -- How Big Should The Bestiary Be? New Initiative System? ... And Other Stories


    Today's Pathfinder 2nd Edition news update contains a number of minor tidbits. Plus, they're still planning the Bestiary and are interested in opinions on how big it should be. All of this has, of course, been added to the ever-expanding Pathfinder 2nd edition Compiled Info Page.





    • Here's a playtest report by Marc Radle from Gary Con! The biggest item in this list, to me, is the new Initiative system. We've already heard about how PCs can roll things like Stealth, Survival, or other skills rated to what they're currently doing. And the condition degrees sound intriguing.
      • The new three action economy rule is, frankly, fantastic! It speeds up combat, gives everyone more to do on their turn, and feels a bit more tactical (in the best way). Can't say enough good things about it!
      • The new initiative system probably took the most getting used to, but after the first combat, even that made sense and felt fine
      • The active use of shields (instead of the more passive "I have a shield so I'm just always using it") was very cool.
      • Characters had normal AC and a touch AC, but no flat-footed AC (flat-footed in now a condition)
      • Healing spells are now in the Necromancy school (I approve!)
      • First level characters start out with more hit points (excellent)
      • Skills are consolidated somewhat (Spellcraft and Knowledge Arcana seem to be a single skill now, for example)
      • You can now Crit (or fumble) skill checks etc.
      • Conditions now have a number which designates the degree - nauseated 1, for example, means you are nauseated and take -1 to whatever checks the nauseated condition specifies. Nauseated 2 is worse and gives you -2 on those checks. Seemed pretty clever!
      • Overall, the playtest / demo made me feel quite positive about the new edition. The game still felt like Pathfinder, just an improved, slightly more refined version.
      • One thing that seemed very clear though (and was something Jason confirmed) is that this will NOT be a radical departure from what we are used to. You will easily be able to run a Pathfinder 1.0 adventure using the new edition rules by basically swapping out some stat blocks, making a few other quick changes (on the fly even) and you will be good to go. All our current Pathfinder adventures will not be obsolete, in other words!


    • On expanding Golarion -- "We'll do minor check-ins now and again as APs and other initiatives dictate, but for now there are still a few highly appealing nations in the Inner Sea Region that have not gotten their due, and they presently take priority. We'll get to that other stuff, though. I can see a very clear path in that direction that I'm not sure I could a year or two ago." (Erik Mona)
    • Why no half-elf iconics? -- "And there are no half-orcs, either. I wish we'd done it differently back in 2007, but fixing it within the core 12 means saying goodbye to some very good friends, and we're not really interested in going there." (Erik Mona)
    • On how to abbreviate editions of Pathfinder -- "Speaking just for myself, I'm gearing toward PF1 and PF2. The lowercase "e" is superfluous, as the number denotes the edition. PF1 is more useful to specify between editions, i.e. "they did this so much better in PF1." If Pathfinder First Edition is called simply PF, it loses function as a catch-all abbreviation for the game in general, its world, the culture and customs associated with it, etc. Anyway, just my two cents." (Erik Mona)
    • Erik Mona mentions the Bestiary --
      • On a suggestion that monsters have more information and context -- "I'd also very much like this, but this also adds pages if you don't want it to come at the cost of more options and stat blocks."
      • On including most of the monsters from Bestiaries 1-3 -- "I'm guessing a truly credible version of that book would be at least 600 pages. Are you willing to pay $60-70 for such a book? I'm genuinely interested in people's answers, because to tell you the truth I am strongly considering a base monster reference that is significantly larger than Bestiary 1's 320 pages. So... don't be shy about your opinions, please."

    • ​Logan Bonner in response to a post about replacing feats like skill focus with skill unlocks -- "You're in luck!"
    • Defining whether items are held, wielded, or free -- "We've certainly put work into this and really want you to put it through its paces." (Logan Bonner)
    • Finally, Gary Con is over, and Paizo's Jason Bulmahn has left. The Pathfinder Playtests raised $2,163 for charity. Here are some photos of the last two playtest groups, courtesy of Jason Bulmahn.





    "These madmen raised $233 for charity playing the new version of Pathfinder!" - Jason Bulmahn
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    "My last Pathfinder Preview table at Garycon! We raised another $370! That's over a grand for charity so far!" - Jason Bulmahn
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    Comments 24 Comments
    1. RevTurkey's Avatar
      RevTurkey -
      I like the current physical size of the Bestiary. I donít think they should go over about 400 pages, same with the Core Rulebook. Plenty of time to add more books to the line if all goes to plan
    1. Cergorach's Avatar
      Cergorach -
      A 600 page book at $60-$70 is a good deal, 80% more content for 35-55% more added to the price. The question becomes, how does that book wield? I still have Ptolus... As a pdf, it really wouldn't matter that much...
    1. LuisCarlos17f's Avatar
      LuisCarlos17f -
      The bestiaries are one of my favorite books, together with the sourcebooks with new base classes, but Devir didn't want to translate to Spanish languange the Bestiary 3. The monster manual and bestiaries are books what get old very good after new editions when there is enough background, but without "filling", like some pages from 3.5 Monster Manual IV and MM V. Really I miss the translation to the dragons.
    1. Silver Griffin's Avatar
      Silver Griffin -
      How about get most of Bestiary 1&2 & include a bunch more context & ecology on the monsters. I would pay more to get a larger book that had some ecology & behavior notes. Just doing the stats was one of the first thing that got carried over from D&D 3.x to Pathfinder.
    1. ddaley's Avatar
      ddaley -
      I would be concerned about a 600 page book. My PF1 core rulebook saw very little use, but the binding fell apart quickly. Have the hard cover books improved in quality... in this sense?
    1. Cergorach's Avatar
      Cergorach -
      Quote Originally Posted by ddaley View Post
      I would be concerned about a 600 page book. My PF1 core rulebook saw very little use, but the binding fell apart quickly. Have the hard cover books improved in quality... in this sense?
      That would be very important!
    1. Zaukrie's Avatar
      Zaukrie -
      I like the lore and story elements in monster books! If it isn't super hard to convert, most long time PF players/DMs will have no shortage of monsters. New players can probably start with 200-300 monsters, and wait 6-12 months for more....

      I don't like 600 page books, too hard to actually use.
    1. Plageman's Avatar
      Plageman -
      All depends on how compact the new stat blocks are vs those from PF1. Also it depends on which play tier they target. They can focus on the 'lower tiers' for the first book and keep those unique high level monsters for some special book later in the line.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      I think one of the most important things for big Pathfinder stat blocks is to remove the long list of feats and spells. They require too much system mastery (or reference in-play).

      I'd say list a few spells they're likely to use, along with the info to use them. Instead of listing the feats, just make sure their effects are incorporated inline. Every time you turn from the Bestiary to a rulebook to find out how to run a monster, you're taking away from playing time.
    1. RevTurkey's Avatar
      RevTurkey -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      I think one of the most important things for big Pathfinder stat blocks is to remove the long list of feats and spells. They require too much system mastery (or reference in-play).

      I'd say list a few spells they're likely to use, along with the info to use them. Instead of listing the feats, just make sure their effects are incorporated inline. Every time you turn from the Bestiary to a rulebook to find out how to run a monster, you're taking away from playing time.
      Completely agree.

      This is a major thing they could do to improve the game...the less referencing of abilities, feats and spells for monsters and opponents, the better. Let the DM concentrate on the action, roleplaying and storytelling rather than looking up or having to memorize those components. Same with the adventure paths and modules...donít have anything outside of core rules unless you stat it out within the scenarios...it creates a barrier to entry for newer players...I found this quite frustrating, coming to Pathfinder many years into itís life cycle...the sheer amount of books and things to look up to run the newer modules was a headache.
    1. VGmaster9's Avatar
      VGmaster9 -
      In regards to the 2e setting, I'd love to see rules for Spelljammer-esque adventures. In fact, it could have adventures beyond Golarion's solar system.
    1. Stacie GmrGrl's Avatar
      Stacie GmrGrl -
      I'm alright with a deluxe sized Bestiary so they don't feel too rushed to do two or three Bestiary books too quickly. Doing a larger version could free them up to focus on non Bestiary books for probably two or three years after PF2 Bestiary is released.
    1. Yaarel -
      Not sure how PF cosmology goes. But divide the core bestiary into volumes, by planar themes.

      ē Physical creatures (including naturals and elementals)
      ē Life creatures (including elves and other feys, and celestials)
      ē Death creatures (including undead and fiends)

      With three thematic volumes, the core bestiary can be very large indeed, 200-300 pages each, x3.
    1. DaveMage's Avatar
      DaveMage -
      Go big or go home!

      600+ pages for the Bestiary is the way to go! *Fantastic* value for the GM if they go that route.
    1. exile -
      I played in one of Buhlman's playtest games as well (second from the left in the group that raised $370-- and a lot of credit for that amount goes to observers and passers-by; also, I wish I looked better in photographs). Anyway, I would mostly echo a lot of what the original poster had to say.

      I played Valeros. I also liked the new shield mechanics, but they will take some getting used to. When not using my shield, I often dual-wielded. The main advantage from this (that I could see; and without having a special feat for it) was that I could take my primary attack with my longsword, then take my second and third attacks with dagger or shortsword at -4 and -8. If I had continued just using my longsword, those penalties would ha e been -5 and -10. Weapons that can be used at these reduced penalties are called 'agile.'

      Skills were indeed condensed, and I did not see a spellcraft skill. There was a lore (arcana) that Eaten had, but he also had a skill called occultism (or something like that; not a lore). When I asked about the relationship between these two skills, Jason was kind of elusive. I personally hope that occultism, spellcraft, and lore (arcana) all get condensed I to a single spell. Valeros had lore (warfare) and lore (farming) among several other skills.

      When sickened/nauseated, a character could spend an action vomiting to make another fort save in an effort to clear the condition.

      The economy was different. All of the characters had been equipped with 15 gold. That bought Valeros a longsword, dagger, shortbow, and breast plate.

      That is most of what I recall for now. I am vacationing in Chicago for the next week. When I finally get home, I will again have access to my notes (and a real keyboard, not just my phone). I might have more to add then. Until then, I am happy to try to answer any questions you might have.
    1. vpuigdoller's Avatar
      vpuigdoller -
      The size of the Bestiary is an interesting question. I think a good balance of different kind of monsters more than quantity is more helpful. If more pages mean more different types and level ranges of monsters then yes make it bigger.
    1. Sunseeker's Avatar
      Sunseeker -
      If the price point remains the same, I hope the book size remains the same. One of my constant disappointments with 5E is the seemingly ever-slimming book sizes yet the standard price point.
    1. Kronides's Avatar
      Kronides -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      I think one of the most important things for big Pathfinder stat blocks is to remove the long list of feats and spells. They require too much system mastery (or reference in-play).

      I'd say list a few spells they're likely to use, along with the info to use them. Instead of listing the feats, just make sure their effects are incorporated inline. Every time you turn from the Bestiary to a rulebook to find out how to run a monster, you're taking away from playing time.
      So, 4E it is then...
    1. NaturalZero's Avatar
      NaturalZero -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      I think one of the most important things for big Pathfinder stat blocks is to remove the long list of feats and spells. They require too much system mastery (or reference in-play).

      I'd say list a few spells they're likely to use, along with the info to use them. Instead of listing the feats, just make sure their effects are incorporated inline. Every time you turn from the Bestiary to a rulebook to find out how to run a monster, you're taking away from playing time.
      A million times this.

      This was a disappointing design decision for me when 5e rolled out and i'd like to see it fixed in PF2. I ran a ton of 3.5 but eventually stopped using monsters with huge spell or power lists and always ignored feat lists.
    1. Plageman's Avatar
      Plageman -
      I think that we're paying some design philosophy from early that one-shot npc/monsters have to be as detailed as PCs. Sadly it would need a complete stat blocks overhaul to get rid of that.

      In the meantime it would be easier to list attack spells as part of the stat block rather than sending you to the books.
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