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PF2e Bestiary: Let's Read and Review!

dave2008

Adventurer
I am planning to read and review the PF2e Bestiary monster by monster. I plan to rank each monster in three categories from 0 (don't like), 1(OK), & 2 (good). The categories are: Art; Stats/Mechanics; Lore. So the minimum score is 0 and the max score is 6. Is that something you would be interested in?

FYI: by my ranking:
A total score of 0-1 = bad
A total score of 2-4 = average
A total score of 5-6 - good

I love monster books and though I don't think I will be playing PF2e (and I didn't play PF1e) I always like to get another monster book. Heck 75% of the reason I purchased 5e adventures was for the new monsters! Anyway, I finally got to see the PF2e Bestiary in person yesterday and decided I didn't want to purchase the hard copy (more on that below), but I will pick the PDF for this review.

Also, in the list below, if the letter in front of the spoiler tag is red and a larger font, that indicates that letter has at least some completed reviews. Letters with no review yet are gray.

First Impressions:
A few quick thoughts as I previewed the print and PDF copy
  • It is a big hefty book. It is similar page count to the 5e MM, but feels heftier.
  • Cover Art: I'm a little tired of WAR's style, but I like this cover piece. I think his style works better for monsters than it does for people and I like what I'm seeing. My one complaint is the color is a bit monochromatic / under saturated (and the troll's hands a bit over-sized).
  • PDF: Nice bookmarks, but no hyperlinks (bit of a disappointment). But it is extra nice you can get a legal PDF!
  • Format/Layout: I like the general format of the stat block; however, because it takes up about 2/3 of the page width, there a lot of instances of the art work encroaching on the stat block. I don't like this and it was a big factor in why I didn't spring for the print version. The like the extra width of the stat block with room for notes, but I would rather the image find a location other than in the stat block. There are some other oddities (demon "lord" not located with the demons; green dragon spell casting side bar on the blue dragon stat page), but in general it works. The index, glossary, traits, and monsters by level sections are all useful. I do wish there was list of monsters by type though. I also don't like that several monsters have stat blocks that needlessly* bleed onto a 2nd page. That is really annoying to me.
*It is needless because the stat block is small enough to fit on one page, but the way the page is formatted cause the stat block to extend onto a 2nd page.
Why I am not buying the print edition:
There a few reasons (in no particular order):
  • I am not going to be playing PF2e anytime soon so i didn't want to invest the extra money.
  • A quick look through the documents and I didn't like some of the organization. This is more important to me in print product than it is in a PDF.
  • A quick look through and I didn't like some of the art (really import to me for a print book)
  • I didn't like some of the formatting (specifically how the text wraps around some images), which is also important to me in a print product.
Now, all of that being said, some of my misgivings may change after I review the PDF in full and I may end up changing my mind!
 
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dave2008

Adventurer
A:
Aeon, Arbiter
Art: 1, the art is good, but it doesn't match the description / stats (shortsword)
Stats/Mechanics: 1, nothing special, but it is simple level 1 critter. It has one trick move and some spells for added depth/complexity as needed.
Lore: 0, the Aeon in general get some descent lore, but the Arbiter only gets 2 sentences. Nothing there to make me want to use them.
Final Score: 2/6
Aeon, Axiomite
Art: 0, the art is IMHO not good. It is rather flat and looks amateurish. I would also see some representation of its natural form.
Stats/Mechanics: 1, nothing special. Similar comments to the Aeon, but at level 10. It's fist attack it take is basically useless. If you want to include it, I suggest making it do something special (like a grapple on a hit or cost lest actions or be used in a reaction)
Lore: 2, the Axiomite gets a good bit of lore (3 paragraphs) with some potential hooks in there.
Final Score: 3/6
Aeon, Kolyarut
Art: 1, the art is pretty good but seems a bit out of focus almost (stylistically). It also commits the sin of not matching the description/stats (bastard sword).
Stats/Mechanics: 0, nothing special. Similar comments to the Aeon, but at level 10. It's fist attack it take is basically useless. If you want to include it, I suggest making it do something special (like a grapple on a hit or cost lest actions or be used in a reaction)
Lore: 1, the Kolyarut only gets one paragraph, but it is packed with interesting and useful information.
Final Score: 2/6
Aeon, Pleroma
Art: 1, the art is decent, but I expected something a bit more outlandish from the description.
Stats/Mechanics: 1, a pretty standard high level monster; however, it is a bit to reliant on spells and the special abilities are a tad long in the description.
Lore: 1, the Pleroma gets 2 paragraphs that are fairy interesting, but not a lot to grabe onto IMO. Again I expect more from a level 20 monster.
Final Score: 3/6
Alghollthu, Skum (Ulat-Kini)
Art: 1, the art is good, but I wish it wasn't partially cut of by the page edge
Stats/Mechanics: 1, a nice variety of options for a low level creature, but there is no real reason to use anything but fangs attack for melee.
Lore: 1, a good bit of lore for a low level mook and enough there to find a hook or two.
Final Score: 3/6
Alghollthu, Faceless Stalker (Ugothol)
Art: 1, the art is good, but the most interesting feature, its bloodsucking tongue, is not shown.
Stats/Mechanics: 1, a nice variety of options and I really wanted to give it a 2, but the fact that its most interesting attack relies on a condition it doesn't have a special ability to impose (restrained or unconscious) is a no-no for me.
Lore: 2, three sizable paragraphs of interesting info.
Final Score: 4/6
Alghollthu, Alghollthu Master (Aboleth)
Art: 1, the art is technically good, but I just don't like the design.
Stats/Mechanics: 0, I might be a bit harsh on this one, but I can't help but compare it to the 5e aboleth which is much more interesting
Lore: 1, one large paragraph with decent information, but a bit light for this significant of a creature.
Final Score: 2/6
Alghollthu, Vield Master (Vidileth)
Art: 1, the art is technically good, but I just don't like the design.
Stats/Mechanics: 2, lots of interesting things to do with this beastie.
Lore: 1, one (maybe two) large paragraph(S) with decent information, but I would like a bit more for this significant level of monster.
Final Score: 4/6
Angel, Cassisian (Archive Angel)
Art: 0, the art is technically good, but the design / concept is terrible - a flying helmet, really?
Stats/Mechanics: 2, lots of interesting things to do for a level 1 creature.
Lore: 0, one small paragraph and it describes the angels as "lackey messengers." Not good IMO.
Final Score: 2/6
Angel, Choral (Choir Angel)
Art: 1, I don't particularly like the style (or the short hair cut), but it technically pretty good and angelic.
Stats/Mechanics: 2, lots of interesting things to do and synergy with additional choral angels. Great entry for a level 6 creature.
Lore: 1, another one paragraph entry. There is some good information in there, but I just want more. This could be a 0 for some.
Final Score: 4/6
Angel, Balisse (Confessor Angel)
Art: 1, I don't particularly like the piece, but it works and is well done. However, no flaming scimitar.
Stats/Mechanics: 2, some interesting things to do here (brand of impenitent is good IMO), however. I am not really familiar with PF2e balance yet and the melee damage seems low for level 8 creature. But I am not ready to knock it for that yet.
Lore: 0, another one paragraph entry. For a level 8 creature this is just not enough for me. I also don't like that it mentions their "guardian angel ability" and there is no other reference in the lore or stat block to describe what this ability is/does. Perhaps it is just a generic reference, but for PF it stands out as a miss.
Final Score: 3/6
Angel, Astral Deva (Emissary Angel)
Art: 2, checks all the boxes: matches the lore, the stat block, technically good, and damn it looks angelic.
Stats/Mechanics: 2, lots of good things to do. Interesting options/abilities beyond a spell list are a must and the astral deva has them. This is what a level 14 monster should look like.
Lore: 1, a fairly good 2 paragraph entry. However, it seems a bit generic. I would like to see more for such a prominent member of the celestial choir.
Final Score: 5/6
Animated Broom
Art: 1, acceptable, but odd choice for a gnarly broom stick.
Stats/Mechanics: 1, this is a -1 level creature and the stats let you know it. The "dust" effect is somewhat interesting, but I personally find it annoying and probably wouldn't use it.
Lore: 0, one small paragraph with nothing much to say.
Final Score: 2/6
Animated Armor
Art: 0, no art = no score!
Stats/Mechanics: 1, a simple, strait forward stat block. Though again, it is a wasted opportunity (IMO) that the gauntlet attack doesn't do any other than damage. No reason to use it in place of the glaive.
Lore: 1, this ratings is border line 0. It is just one small paragraph, but I do think it manages to provide a few hooks.
Final Score: 2/6
Animated Statue
Art: 0, no art = no score!
Stats/Mechanics: 0, almost identical to the animated armor - nothing new or interesting here.
Lore: 0, almost identical to the animated armor - nothing new or interesting here.
Final Score: 0/6
Animated Giant Statue
Art: 1, fairly good art with good dynamic action; however, the render is a little "painterly" for my taste and the scale and equipment don't match the stat block.
Stats/Mechanics: 2, the stat bock is simple and fairly short, but has interesting options and effects. Also, nice to have melee and ranged options.
Lore: 0, one small paragraph with not much to say; however, it does bring up the issue of when to animate and when to go golem!
Final Score: 3/6
Ankhrav
Art: 2, technically very good, covers what is in the text and looks very threatening.
Stats/Mechanics: 2, lots of interesting bits for a level 3 monster: melee, ranged, and area attack options with an armor rending bite thrown if for extra scariness. I can see these being an interesting battle for a group of adventurers.
Lore: 1, one small paragraph, but it does give you a strong hook to why a group might have to deal with them.
Final Score: 5/6
Hive Mother
Art: 0, no art = no score! I am disappointed there is no visual representation of how hive mothers differ from the rank and file.
Stats/Mechanics: 1, almost a complete reprint of the Ankhrav with just one new ability that affects other Ankhavs and no mechanics for the "mantis-like" arms mentioned in the lore. This is borderline 0 too.
Lore: 0, one small paragraph that is really just a description with nothing else interesting to say.
Final Score: 1/6
B:
More to come!
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More to come!
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More to come!
 
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dave2008

Adventurer
E:
More to come!
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More to come!
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dave2008

Adventurer
K:
More to come!
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M:
More to come!
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O:
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dave2008

Adventurer
Q:
More to come!
R:
More to come!
S:
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T:
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U:
More to come!
V:
More to come!
W:
More to come!
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More to come!
 
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