Let's Look At Some Monster Stat Blocks For Pathfinder 2

The Monday update to the Pathfinder 2 development blog took a look at building monsters under the new rules. Today, with the Friday update we're getting a look at a couple of stat blocks. They look at an ogre and a redcap (pictured below).


You can see the details of the two monsters at the Paizo website. The stat blocks do look to be more streamlined than the equivalent in Pathfinder first edition, but what is interesting is the differences between a Pathfinder 2 and Starfinder stat block.


Obviously there is a good chance that there will be changes between this sample, the playtest edition of Pathfinder 2 and the final version of the game. What do people think...too much detail, or not enough?
 

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unknowable

Explorer
I guess it works if you're a full-time GM and don't already know how the player stuff works, because it means you only need to learn the monster stuff. For anyone who goes back and forth between playing and GMing, and who already knows all of the player stuff, it's an additional barrier to actually running the game.

The absolute barrier from nothing to GMing is smaller, but the relative barrier going from being a player to being the GM, is much larger.

Although to be fair, it probably would have been prohibitive to try and make monsters as PCs, given the over-all increase in PC complexity between PF1E and PF2E. The monsters-as-characters paradigm really works best when PCs themselves have fewer decision points involved.

I disagree entirely, the core mechanics are the same and everything else is tied to the stat block and allows for more design freedom.

Everything I have seen so far suggests that this edition will be easier to run than 3.x
I have been running it since near 3.0's release and I still find it to be a bloated mess to run properly.
 

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The Human Target

Adventurer
I guess it works if you're a full-time GM and don't already know how the player stuff works, because it means you only need to learn the monster stuff. For anyone who goes back and forth between playing and GMing, and who already knows all of the player stuff, it's an additional barrier to actually running the game.

The absolute barrier from nothing to GMing is smaller, but the relative barrier going from being a player to being the GM, is much larger.

Although to be fair, it probably would have been prohibitive to try and make monsters as PCs, given the over-all increase in PC complexity between PF1E and PF2E. The monsters-as-characters paradigm really works best when PCs themselves have fewer decision points involved.

Running monsters in 4e was easier.

The idea that making them self contained made them extremely hard to use is bonkers.

It certainly isn't any harder to go from player to GM.

You can hate everything about 4e, just don't craft elaborate falsehoods about why.
 

Pandatheist

Villager
Random string of quick impressions:

Wow is that long. Feels like a lot of information that won't be useful at the table.
I like the use of modifiers instead of ability scores(can we finally kill off ability scores?).
The use of "gamey" terminology has increased. Starting to remind me of old wargames, and not in a good way.
I thought I would like new 3 action system, but this is going to add a lot of AP and slow combat to a crawl.
But seriously, that is super long. Trying to check this on a random encounter table is going to waste a lot of player time while I read.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Monster stat block.

I love:
• Referring to the ability modifiers.
• Listing the basic skill bonus (according to level) (for untrained skills)

I would prefer:
• Making Athletics and Acrobatics the same skill, so usually +Str, sometimes +Dex or +Con
• Ok to list skill bonus, skill proficiency, and ability modifier separately for DM to add up in head
• Reducing the named skills to just four, to heighten flavor of what monster can generally do
• Even just lumping acrobatics into athletics reduces number of skills to a manageable, flavorful, five

To me it makes sense:
• listing ability modifiers and skills in first section; things like stealth/persuasion precede combat
• listing special items with skills, as a kind of skillful tool proficiency, that conveys flavor
 

Everything I have seen so far suggests that this edition will be easier to run than 3.x
I have been running it since near 3.0's release and I still find it to be a bloated mess to run properly.
I haven't played 3.5 in over ten years, but I could still run you through a combat against some goblins or orcs right now, without any preparation. I can literally write down all of the relevant stats and abilities from memory, while you're rolling initiative, because it's all derived naturally from ability scores and class levels.

There's no way that I could run you through a similar encounter in 4E, unless I actually brought the book out and looked up their abilities. There's no way for me to guess what any of their powers were, because they were all unique to those specific monsters.

That's the same feeling I get from this stat block. It's not just simple, universal mechanics. It's not even a base level of simple mechanics, with one weird thing to make the monster unique, like regeneration or constriction. It's all new stuff, for every monster.

Running monsters in 4e was easier.

The idea that making them self contained made them extremely hard to use is bonkers.

It certainly isn't any harder to go from player to GM.

You can hate everything about 4e, just don't craft elaborate falsehoods about why.
You can't deny someone else's lived experience. I was there. It was difficult to transition between playing 4E and running 4E, because all of the monsters had all new abilities that I had to learn from scratch. It was like learning my character all over again, for every fight; sometimes multiple times in one fight, because they encouraged you to use mixed groups of monsters.

Fourth Edition had a lot going for it. I'm a big fan of the precise language and AEDU. I'm a huge fan of the multi-classing rules. The unique monster rules were, by a wide margin, the weakest part of the system.
 


Igwilly

First Post
Seriously? This is too hard to run and 3.X/Pathfinder is easy?
Sorry, no. Monster work in 3.X/Pathfinder is a nightmare to deal with, and the number one reason why I left PF1. I just couldn't stand the difficulty of running, modifying and creating monsters.
With this kind of layout, it's all there! So much easier, and probably much easier to tinker with.

The more they show the more this game looks like D&D 4e 2nd editioned.

It just seems that Paizo is giving me the tactical experience WotC seems incapable of providing.

Hallelujah!
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'm not crazy about this use of the word "Irreligious" which means "indifferent or hostile to religion." A creature that is indifferent to religion should not be affected by a holy symbol. Being hostile to religion doesn't give someone else's religion power over you (other than perhaps to annoy you); it's exactly the opposite.

I hope they will find a different term for this.
I’m partial to “Theophobic”
 


Pandatheist

Villager
Seriously? This is too hard to run and 3.X/Pathfinder is easy?
Sorry, no. Monster work in 3.X/Pathfinder is a nightmare to deal with, and the number one reason why I left PF1. I just couldn't stand the difficulty of running, modifying and creating monsters.
With this kind of layout, it's all there! So much easier, and probably much easier to tinker with.



It just seems that Paizo is giving me the tactical experience WotC seems incapable of providing.

Hallelujah!

I’m with you as far as 3.0 combat prep. But I think this is a horizontal segmentation issue. Some people want monsters as player characters, some want unique non universally applicable abilities and rarely shall the twain meet. I’m curious to see if they find a good balance to keep their player base.

And I think you’re right about the tactical gameplay. For me the more I read the less I think PF2 is for me, but I’m really happy someone is going in this direction. I have friends that miss 4e for precisely that reason, and while it was never my cup of tea they’re sol on a currently supported tactical rpg. Theres a hole in the market and I think paizo is very smart to address it. And I have some very happy friends with this.
 

dave2008

Legend
There's no way that I could run you through a similar encounter in 4E, unless I actually brought the book out and looked up their abilities. There's no way for me to guess what any of their powers were, because they were all unique to those specific monsters.


That was not my experience. There were simple tables in 4e that allowed you to know stats and damage of any monster (generally) at any level whether it was a minion, standard, elite, or solo. I need less than a page of paper an I could wing it for any monsters. Eventually, I didn't even really need the paper at all.

Powers a just examples of what at creature might do, it can be whatever you want.
 

mellored

Hero
I haven't played 3.5 in over ten years, but I could still run you through a combat against some goblins or orcs right now, without any preparation. I can literally write down all of the relevant stats and abilities from memory, while you're rolling initiative, because it's all derived naturally from ability scores and class levels.

There's no way that I could run you through a similar encounter in 4E, unless I actually brought the book out and looked up their abilities. There's no way for me to guess what any of their powers were, because they were all unique to those specific monsters.
I've made monsters on the fly in 4e without writing anything down (i forgot to bring the monster manual). Including special abilities that where unique to that monster.
It was difficult, and I really should have at least written down at least the Defenses, to-hit, and HP, but I still managed it without any player noticing.
And that only took a year or so of playing.

For instance... just off the top of my head.

Wild-Tri-Elementalist Level 8
HP: 60, AC: 23, Ref: 18, Fort 18, Wis 22

Actions
Wild Blast: Roll a d6
1-2: 12 vs Ref: 2d6+5 fire damage in cone 5. Ongoing 5 fire damage (save ends).
3-4: 12 vs Fort: 2d6+5 cold damage in cone 3. The area is difficult terrain until the end of your next turn.
5-6: 16 vs Ref: 2d6+10 lighting damage in a line 10.

Reactions
Sudden Burst: When you are hit by an attack, roll a d6
1-2: 2d6 fire damage damage in a burst 2.
3-4: The attacker takes a 5 cold damage and has -2 to attack and defense until the end of your next turn.
5-6: Teleport 5 squares.

If I could pull making up monsters like that in PF2, that would be great.

*(It's been a few years, so the numbers might be off a bit).

Fourth Edition had a lot going for it. I'm a big fan of the precise language and AEDU. I'm a huge fan of the multi-classing rules. The unique monster rules were, by a wide margin, the weakest part of the system.
I disagree.

Well... I like the precise and concise language, and like the multi-class rules (though perhaps a bit too costly) and hybrid rules. I also liked the attacker always rolls (i.e. wizard rolls 1d20+int vs dex for fireball).
But I also really liked the monsters were more than just damage + hit points. Pushing, stunning, zones, teleports, changing tactics when bloodied, and just more variety, in general, kept it from getting stale.

AEDU wasn't bad for a class, but it's not something I liked system-wide. Again, more variety would be good.
 
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Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Running monsters in 4e was easier.

The idea that making them self contained made them extremely hard to use is bonkers.

It certainly isn't any harder to go from player to GM.

You can hate everything about 4e, just don't craft elaborate falsehoods about why.

I agree, I dont hate everything about 4e and the self-contained Monster stat blocks was one of the good parts.
 

That was not my experience. There were simple tables in 4e that allowed you to know stats and damage of any monster (generally) at any level whether it was a minion, standard, elite, or solo. I need less than a page of paper an I could wing it for any monsters. Eventually, I didn't even really need the paper at all.

Powers a just examples of what at creature might do, it can be whatever you want.
Maybe that's more to the point, then. In 4E, the monsters have the stats that you want them to have. In every other edition, the monsters have their own stats, whatever makes the most sense based on their nature. As a DM, I can't look at a particular orc within the world and say that it's a minion or a standard. That's not my place, as the impartial adjudicator, to decide such things.

Moreover, that is not a skill-set which I would have, coming from the player end. As a player, the rules tell you what all of your bonuses are, and how all of your powers work.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
I just noticed the "Stomp" ability of the Red Cap. That is so cute, the poor little guy getting so angry he just wants to Stomp someone with his teensy little boots. Aww, I just want to pinch his little cheeks so cute.
 

dave2008

Legend
Maybe that's more to the point, then. In 4E, the monsters have the stats that you want them to have. In every other edition, the monsters have their own stats, whatever makes the most sense based on their nature. As a DM, I can't look at a particular orc within the world and say that it's a minion or a standard. That's not my place, as the impartial adjudicator, to decide such things.

Moreover, that is not a skill-set which I would have, coming from the player end. As a player, the rules tell you what all of your bonuses are, and how all of your powers work.

That is not the point at all.
 

Igwilly

First Post
And I think you’re right about the tactical gameplay. For me the more I read the less I think PF2 is for me, but I’m really happy someone is going in this direction. I have friends that miss 4e for precisely that reason, and while it was never my cup of tea they’re sol on a currently supported tactical rpg. Theres a hole in the market and I think paizo is very smart to address it. And I have some very happy friends with this.
Pretty much ^^
I've been searching for good tactical gameplay systems, and that's hard to find. Much harder than old-school games or story-focused ones. The ones that I did find were either indie games (with little recognition and support after the core books), were well discontinued or simply had nothing to do with classic, RPG-style fantasy (like, a Mecha game). They are great! However, a system like Pathfinder (big and famous) to take that route is a terrific surprise.
Honestly, I think their move has a lot to do with D&D 5e. 5e is there, and it's an elephant/gorilla/rhinoceros thing that will stomp anyone who gets in its way. Going for the exact same public is insane. So, I guess Paizo wants to cover up what 5e does not (or fails to do). Lucky me! ^^
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
I’m with you as far as 3.0 combat prep. But I think this is a horizontal segmentation issue. Some people want monsters as player characters, some want unique non universally applicable abilities and rarely shall the twain meet. I’m curious to see if they find a good balance to keep their player base.

I still think the solution to this is a "player version" of the monsters. Players are attracted to monsters for 2 reasons:
Cool stuff.
Power.

The people who fall primarily in the first group want to play a Drider because they think it'd be fun. Here's a player-sized Drider:
+2 Str, +2 Cha/Int, -2 Dex
Driders, while retaining their Drow-like beauty/smarts, are large and hearty, as opposed to their dexterous and frail elf predecessors.
Speed 30
Darkvision 60.
Spider Climb: A Drider can move along any vertical surface as well as it could on the ground.
Web: 1/day, A Drider can shoot a web at an enemy w/in *range*. The DC is 10+Dex+level.
Hulking Abdomen: A Drider is considered "large" and can carry weight as a large quadruped on it's spider half, but takes up more room. The Drider receives no size penalties or bonuses because of this.
Small Torso: A Drider's elven upper body is the same size as any other elf, and wields weapons sized for a medium creature.
Strange Build: A Drider's upper body wears armor as a normal medium creature. A drider's lower body requires specially fitted armor to gain the same benefits. *A Dm may optionally choose to ignore this issue if they don't really want to deal with it.

There. Monstrous creature, player-sized.

I've done this for a number of races. It's pretty easy. Sure, you can't really "player-size" an ancient red dragon...but you could certainly make a player-sized young or younger dragon, you'd have a potential issue with "aging up bonuses", but I'm sure it could be made workable.

You're never going to satisfy the people who want to play monsters for the power, because they fundamentally want the ridiculous stats and crazy abilities that aren't fitting with a "player-sized" race.
 
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dave2008

Legend
You said you could run monsters on the fly in whatever edition, except for 4e (or something a long those lines). But that is absolutely possible to do in 4e, that is the point. You can run a 4e monster just like any other edition pretty much.
 

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