Pathfinder 2E Monster Building Rules

Paizo has posted the Building Creatures and Building Hazards sections from chapter 2 of the upcoming Gamemastery Guide for free download.

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"As we’ve noted on some of our livestreams, the system for creating your own monsters and NPCs uses a top down system with benchmarks, allowing you to build a creature to match your top-level vision of that creature instead of requiring you to build them from the bottom up like a player character. This guide has all the relevant numbers for creating these creatures, as well as lessons on what you can do to make your monsters the best they can be. The numbers are a starting place, and your creativity really brings the monster to life. The hazard rules give you everything you need to create traps, environmental hazards, and haunts to menace your party."
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

kenada

Explorer
I was expecting something more like the simple monster creation rules in Pathfinder Unchained or the monster creation rules in Starfinder, but it’s not. It’s actually closer to PF1, except with more guidance on how your choices effect your monster (or hazard).
 
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CapnZapp

Hero
It looks like you need to sign up for their site to be able to look at this.
Here's a copy valid for one week I believe if you can't (or won't) get their site to work:

Edit: Had to withdraw link - saw my personal details were embedded in the file. Thanks Paizo for another case where pirates get the superior product (even when their offering is free!!) (n)(n)(n)
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Myself, I'm in much greater need of premade humanoid NPC stat blocks at the moment.

(I'm sure I will never manage to exhaust the Bestiary monsters before Paizo has had time to publish Bestiary 2... or Bestiary 7, more likely :)

Sure I will wish some specific monster existed before official stats come into existence, but really, I have enough on my plate as it is and will simply have to switch it out for something I can use as is off the shelf!
 

dave2008

Hero
My first impression is that these tables are basically a more involved way of saying "look at a monster of comparable level and role" and tweak its values.
Definitely quicker just to re-skin an existing monster. I haven’t gotten in depth into it yet but I’m curious to see the advice on how to make monsters or are they just rely mostly on the tables to get the level right.
 

dave2008

Hero
Myself, I'm in much greater need of premade humanoid NPC stat blocks at the moment.

(I'm sure I will never manage to exhaust the Bestiary monsters before Paizo has had time to publish Bestiary 2... or Bestiary 7, more likely :)

Sure I will wish some specific monster existed before official stats come into existence, but really, I have enough on my plate as it is and will simply have to switch it out for something I can use as is off the shelf!
At first glance I didn’t think see anything about solo monsters. Or how to make a good solo encounter.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Definitely quicker just to re-skin an existing monster. I haven’t gotten in depth into it yet but I’m curious to see the advice on how to make monsters or are they just rely mostly on the tables to get the level right.
They even talk about creating a monster on the fly just by picking values from each table as needed.

But no, mostly but not only tables. You're supposed to balance it out (not picking too many good values/traits, not overdoing the design with stuff it never has time to display before dying etc).

But it sure was very numbery and very crunchily.

Not a lot of insight into their creative process. In fact, from reading it you might think creating a monster is like filling out your tax returns. I didn't find a single word on anything that went into their own Bestiary, why they gave this monster that specific ability, how they came up with "thematic" abilities for Kobolds or Gnolls or whatever. It was entirely divorced from their actual Golarion world (apart from the most obvious and generic stuff: Succubi gets world-class Diplomacy skills)

At first glance I didn’t think see anything about solo monsters. Or how to make a good solo encounter.
Not a thing, no.

I seem to remember them thinking a high-level creature (relative to the PCs) being that. Or maybe I just remember somebody complaining over in the Solo thread how a high-level creature makes for a poor Solo.

Either way, maybe best discuss it there...? :)
 

kenada

Explorer
I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to say there isn’t a single word on anything that went into the Bestiary. They used both demons and harpies from the Bestiary in the “Concept and Roadmap” section as examples of creatures, their core aspects, and how that translated into abilities (for demons: weaknesses against virtues that oppose their sins, for harpies: Captivating Song).

The procedure is pretty free-form, which can be good and bad. It’s shoud be easy to use if you’ve got an idea and just need to make sure the math works out correctly. It’s much less helpful if you’re one who needs or wants a bit more hand-holding through the creative process.
 
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dave2008

Hero
I am a little confused. I thought in PF2e monster level = character level. However, if I look at a 20th monster, the HP range is from 277-473! This is much more than PCs. I assumed there would then be some sort of formula or real suggestion on how to make such a high HP monster the correct level. However, it only mentions compensating in other areas, but provides no real guidance. It seems to me that it would be very easy to make an overpowered monster with these guidelines. I would think with the tight math of PF2e they could say something like:

If you are using the extreme hp for your monster, use the low AC and at least 1 vulnerability to compensate and maintain the level chosen for the HP.

PS I am not saying that is the correct method, just an idea of what could be done.
 

S'mon

Legend
I am a little confused. I thought in PF2e monster level = character level. However, if I look at a 20th monster, the HP range is from 277-473! This is much more than PCs.
Is it not still "a moderate challenge for 4 PCs of that level"? That needs a monster roughly equal to 2 PCs, so it can drain a moderate amount of PC resources (20-25% per 3e) before it goes down.

In 4e a monster was about half as powerful as a PC of that level, so that 5 monsters could be a moderate challenge to 5 PCs of that level; making Elite monsters roughly equal to PCs of that level (in theory).
 

dave2008

Hero
Is it not still "a moderate challenge for 4 PCs of that level"? That needs a monster roughly equal to 2 PCs, so it can drain a moderate amount of PC resources (20-25% per 3e) before it goes down.

In 4e a monster was about half as powerful as a PC of that level, so that 5 monsters could be a moderate challenge to 5 PCs of that level; making Elite monsters roughly equal to PCs of that level (in theory).
Could be, I thought PF2e was 1 for 1. 1 level 5 PC = 1 level 5 monster. Am I mistaken?
 

kenada

Explorer
A single monster is equivalent to a PC of the same level, but all that means is it’s a crapshoot who wins that fight (technically, an extreme encounter vs. one PC). A moderate-threat encounter is one that requires good tactics, or it ends the adventuring day. PF2’s encounter difficulty scale is different from other editions. There are currently no guidelines on how to pace the adventuring day.

Monster building is an art. If Paizo included any specific suggestions on making trade-offs (or any other aspect of design), people would take them as gospel.
 

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