Is This The World Record For Most Official RPG Monsters?

Paizo's fifth major monster book for the Pathfinder RPG just hit store shelves. It contains 300 new monsters, and you can grab is as a hardcover for $44.99; is this a record for the number of official monsters in a supported RPG? "Creatures strange beyond imagining and more terrifying than any nightmare lurk in the dark corners of the world and the weird realms beyond. Within this book, you'll find hundreds of monsters for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Face off against devils and dragons, deep ones and brain moles, robots and gremlins, and myriad other menaces! Yet not every creature needs to be an enemy, as whimsical liminal sprites, helpful moon dogs, and regal seilenoi all stand ready to aid you on your quests—if you prove yourself worthy."


UPDATE: Apparently 2E holds the record still by some margin.

PZO1133.jpg

I don't know how many Pathfinder monsters there are. If we include official ones only, five Bestiaries at 300 apiece comes to about 1,500 critters. Does that win Paizo the prize for most official monsters? What if we include critters from supplements and adventure paths? Is there a tabletop roleplaying game which beats Pathfinder at this point? At 7 years of age it's certainly miles ahead of its parent, D&D 3.5. Or am I way off-base and overlooking something obvious which dwarfs even Pathfinder's mighty library?

Bestiary 5 is now available for comments and ratings.
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
The Compendium for 4th Edition lists 5315 distinct creatures, which is thousand-odd more than 2nd Edition had.
I'm also very surprised by this. I can see 3.X having parity with 2E; while it didn't have as many monster books per se, there were a lot of sourcebooks in 3.X that had monster sections...that and the magazines were still around.

But how did 4E hit such a high number? They only had four monster books that I'm aware of (even 3.X had six). Did the other sourcebooks (of which it seemed like there were fewer), and the online magazines, have a comparable number of monsters in them as well?
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
But how did 4E hit such a high number? They only had four monster books that I'm aware of (even 3.X had six). Did the other sourcebooks (of which it seemed like there were fewer), and the online magazines, have a comparable number of monsters in them as well?
4E also had six monster books (MM1-3, Dark Sun Creature Catalog, Monster Vault and Monster: Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale), although the first Vault overlaps heavily with the MM1. There were also heaps of new monsters (often variations of existing creatures) given stat blocks in many of the 4E hardcovers and adventures. Open Grave and Demonomicon are each more than one third critters. Also, based on some fiddling with the Compendium, it looks like the online version of Dungeon contributed upwards of 1000 new monster stat blocks to 4E, far more than the Dungeons of previous eras.
 

Kramodlog

Adventurer
4E also had six monster books (MM1-3, Dark Sun Creature Catalog, Monster Vault and Monster: Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale), although the first Vault overlaps heavily with the MM1. There were also heaps of new monsters (often variations of existing creatures) given stat blocks in many of the 4E hardcovers and adventures. Open Grave and Demonomicon are each more than one third critters. Also, based on some fiddling with the Compendium, it looks like the online version of Dungeon contributed upwards of 1000 new monster stat blocks to 4E, far more than the Dungeons of previous eras.
1,000 just from the emag? That explains a lot. Still, for an edition that lasted 3 years, it is impressive how much monsters were released. I wonder what were their long term plans for such a rate.
 

Voadam

Adventurer
AD&D used unique stat blocks for existing concepts much less frequently than 3e or 4e. 3e had templates and HD advancement and class advancement which could require a new stat block. 4e allowed new stat blocks for each individual and really did not have base creatures, usually just multiple example ones of certain roles and levels. Advancing 4e monsters was easy as was statting them fairly uniquely from scratch.

Stock monsters in any edition could generally get away with it by just saying X monster, Y hp, and be done. 3e and 4e had more instances of non stock monsters in use.
 

Uchawi

Villager
I believe the tendency to have more monsters or break the record relies on the electronic format for distribution. With that in place any adventure, supplement, article, monster manual, etc. can be represented in one huge compendium. In addition, D&D in general, including Pathfinder, re-uses a lot of concepts and just fine tweaks them so the original concept vs. page count (i.e. quality) starts to diminish.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
I have not catalogued Paizo's Bestiaries in detail, but going simply by the page count of monster-specific sources, AD&D 2nd Edition is still way ahead of Pathfinder:

  • Bestiary 1-5 = 320 x 5 = 1600 pages
  • Monstrous Compendium series (26 volumes) = 2624 pages

[sblock]MC1 - 144 pages
MC2 - 144 pages
MC3 - 64 pages
MC4 - 96 pages
MC5 - 64 pages
MC6 - 64 pages
MC7 - 64 pages
MC7 - 64 pages
MC8 - 96 pages
MC9 - 64 pages
MC10 - 64 pages
MC11 - 64 pages
MC12 - 96 pages
MC13 - 64 pages
MC14 - 64 pages
MC15 - 64 pages
DSMC2 - 128 pages
MYMC1 - 128 pages
RLMC3 - 128 pages
PSMC1 - 128 pages
PSMC2 - 128 pages
PSMC3 - 128 pages
SCMC1 - 96 pages
MCA1 - 128 pages
MCA2 - 128 pages
MCA3 - 128 pages
MCA4 - 96 pages[/sblock]
There are now 100 issues of Pathfinder Adventure Path. Each PF AP has eight pages of bestiary material. That's before we touch 61 modules and another 230 PFS Scenarios, which typically have 2-4 pages more of monsters in a module and 2 more in a PFS Scenario, each. And that tips the scales.

The same can be said for world setting / adventure material at this point. And to suggest that Golarion now has more gaming material written about it than Forgotten Realms does is a rather bold statement, but it's true. Page count is now north of 18,000 of adventure and setting material. C-R-A-Z-Y numbers when you consider the time frame in which that stuff has rolled out.

People ridiculed WotC for the ridiculous number of hardcovers 3.5 generated. They simply ran out of things to write about and slap between two hardcovers. All of that is a fair observation. But the truth is that Paizo blew by all of THAT via softcover publications by several orders of magnitude now. When it comes to uptake, it turns out that modules and setting material sells quite well, thank-you-very-much.

The Paizo publication machine has become monstrous in scope. It is so large that in house at Paizo, only one guy (Mark Moreland) comes close to actually having read it all, or nearly all (he's probably the only one who has read more than 2/3rd of it, tbh).

At this stage, the only thing that D&D IP can claim a clear "quantity" record on in terms of published pages is novel support. That record will be held by WotC for many, many more years to come I suspect. However, at current publication rates, Pathfinder Tales is starting to mass a rather large library. It's still dwarfed by WotC's - but it is actually starting to make a dent in that massive head start. The fact is is even perceptibly catching up at all in terms of page count for novel support is quite remarkable.
 
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Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
There are now 100 issues of Pathfinder Adventure Path. Each PF AP has eight pages of bestiary material. That's before we touch 61 modules and another 230 PFS Scenarios, which typically have 2-4 pages more of monsters in a module and 2 more in a PFS Scenario, each. And that tips the scales.
I don't believe it does tip the scales. The summary you quoted compared only the core monster books for each system. If you want to count all of the supplementary Pathfinder material, then you need also need to do the same for 2nd Edition. There were smaller monster supplements in almost all of the 2nd Edition boxed sets, and monster pages in many accessories and adventures. The "reprint" factor was also lower in 2nd Edition, with really only the Annuals being recycled monsters. Most of the Pathfinder AP and module monsters get reprinted in the Bestiaries.

I'm not persuaded that Pathfinder has 2nd Edition beat yet in monster count.

The same can be said for world setting / adventure material at this point. And to suggest that Golarion now has more gaming material written about it than Forgotten Realms does is a rather bold statement, but it's true. Page count is now north of 18,000 of adventure and setting material. C-R-A-Z-Y numbers when you consider the time frame in which that stuff has rolled out.
I think you are closer with this one, but I am also not quite convinced that Golarion material exceeds Forgotten Realms material. I haven't done a rigorous page count, but eyeballing my shelves, FR still looks to be 20% ahead of Golarion on page count (and that's counting the Pathfinder hardcovers in favor of Golarion, which some people will argue against).

I think Paizo probably have 12-18 months still to go before we get to the point that Golarion material is challenging the Realms in terms of quantity.

Unless you are counting third-party material written for Pathfinder/Golarion? I just realized that I don't know if the Pathfinder License allows third-parties to reference elements from Golarion, or only Pathfinder mechanics. That could easily sway it.
 
Now staring dejectedly at my bestiary 1, 2, and 3 and feeling like I badly need to catch up. First world problems right? I bought the monster codex recently though, that was a superb supplement.
 

Oznogon

Villager
Archives of Nethys (can't post link), which is an almost (but not entirely) complete compendium of first-party Pathfinder content, tracks 2,275 monsters. It doesn't include Bestiary 5 and the last two Adventure Path releases, which would put it around 2,600. This figure would include the 3.5E content published under the Pathfinder banner before the Pathfinder rules came out, but it also happens to dedupe reprinted creatures.
 

Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan

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