PF2e Bestiary: Let's Read and Review!

dave2008

Legend
I am planning to read and review the PF2e Bestiary monster by monster. I plan to rank each monster in three categories: Art; Stats/Mechanics; Lore.

Each category will get a score from 0-2:

0 = Bad. Not what I would expect for this type of book and / or this level of creature. poor or incomplete or uninspired art, lore, or mechanics that add nothing to the reading, viewing, or play experience.
1 = Below Average. A little below expectations for what I would like to see in a bestiary and/or this level of creature.
2 = Average. What I expect to see for a monster in this type of book and/or this level of creature. You buy this book expecting to get scores of 1.
3 = Above Average. Slightly better than what I expect from a bestiary entry and/or this level of creature. Good art, lore, or mechanics.
4 = Exceptional. Above and beyond what I expect for a bestiary and/or this level of creature. Really great art, lore, or mechanics that make it a joy to read, look at, or play.

Then I provide a total score for each monster (the average of the art, stat, and lore score) with the same ratings as noted above for each category.

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, but I did pick up 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.

Table of Contents:
A-D
E-J
K-P
Q-Z

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. (EDIT: there is section of creatures by type, but it is less a list and more a paragraph of each type with the monsters jammed in. Not the most useful presentation, but it is there). 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.
Final Impressions:
Not yet - I just started!

EDIT: There was some confusion about how / why I rate things, so I have tried to clarify things with a little update to the OP.

EDIT 2: It was pointed out to me that I missed some of trait modifiers in my review. As such I will be looking over the A's again before I start the Bs. Adjusting any ratings as needed.

EDIT 3: I have also decided to change the ranks from 0-4 (instead of 0-2) to give me a bit more flexibility. I am updating scores as I go through the As. I have also provided a Table of Contents with hyperlinks to the review.
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
E:
More to come!
F:
More to come!
G:
More to come!
H:
More to come!
I:
More to come!
J:
More to come!

Table of Contents
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
K:
More to come!
L:
More to come!
M:
More to come!
N:
More to come!
O:
More to come!
P:
More to come!

Table of Contents
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
Q:
More to come!
R:
More to come!
S:
More to come!
T:
More to come!
U:
More to come!
V:
More to come!
W:
More to come!
X:
More to come!
Y:
More to come!
Z:
More to come!

Table of Contents
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
Almost done with the As (should finish them up this weekend) and I am realizing this project is going to take me about 8-9 months! So I guess we will have a party in April! When does the Bestiary 2 come out again?!
 

dave2008

Legend
Now a little analysis of the A monsters:
  • There are 31 stat blocks in the A's
  • The low score was a 0
  • The high score was a 5
  • The average score was 2.77 (average ranking)
  • The average art score was less than 1 (below average and trending bad)
  • The average stat score was greater than 1 (slightly above average)
  • The average lore score was less than 1 (slightly below average)
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Your spoiler-fu is greater than my quote-fu, so let me just say I don't automatically agree to your Skum comment. I can elaborate if you wish.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
My general impression after quickly browsing half of A and reading the stat blocks:

Honestly - why do this. You are going to end up with a huge load of poor scores.

Why not consider this your internal notes thread and then summarizing your work once you're done ("ten best and ten worst critters according to Dave")

I will certainly not have the strength of mind to follow along and be depressed at the LOADS and LOADS of "0 for no art" and "0 for no new mechanics" scores I see written in your future...

In fact, why don't I summarize the thread for you: "PF2 Bestiary: didn't like, too little art and too many variations of the same monster".

There. Saved you six months of work

Seriously though, if you want people interested you need to lower your standards quite a bit, to focus on the nuggets that's actually there.

For example, comparing the animated armor and the animated statue, there actually is a fair bit of variance, but only if you look at every number individually.

And since PF2 is a game where every +1 is supposed to be a big deal, something like how the lower-leveled armor have a 50% higher Hardness than the statue, but loses a huge chunk of it's AC once broken, is clearly intended as something that makes the two rather distinct to fight.

Don't get me wrong, I perfectly understand the sentiment "that sort of fiddly clutter won't get my heart racing". I just think it is worth reevaluating your original goals for this thread.

Happy monster bashing!
 

dave2008

Legend
Animated Armor: I think you disregard the possibility of facing the creature without its weapon.
No, I like that they included it (honestly wish the 5e MM did this more), but it is a wasted opportunity IMO. If you give the gauntlet a push or shove or grapple (or something) rider that gives a reason to use it, even if it has its weapon.
 

dave2008

Legend
My general impression after quickly browsing half of A and reading the stat blocks:

Honestly - why do this. You are going to end up with a huge load of poor scores.

Why not consider this your internal notes thread and then summarizing your work once you're done ("ten best and ten worst critters according to Dave")
I guess I see it different. What I see is very few poor scores (0-1) actually. Most are average (2-4) and that is what I would expect. Also, I do plan on providing a summary when I am finished, but that is a long way off. I did provide a summary of the A's in post #11

In fact, why don't I summarize the thread for you: "PF2 Bestiary: didn't like, too little art and too many variations of the same monster".
That is not my impression at all. As I noted in my summary of the A's, so far it is average. Which is what I would expect. So thus far, it is meeting my exceptions for a bestiary. I don't know why you think I don't like it? The average score so far is 2.77, so I don't agree with you characterization so far.

Seriously though, if you want people interested you need to lower your standards quite a bit, to focus on the nuggets that's actually there.
Perhaps that is the issue. I think "average" or "standard" is acceptable. That is, after all what the words mean. I don't think they are negative terms.

That being said, I don't really care to much if other's are interested. I am primarily doing this for myself and am only posting in the off chance others find it interesting or useful. If some else wants to give input I am happy to re-review and adjust my ratings.

For example, comparing the animated armor and the animated statue, there actually is a fair bit of variance, but only if you look at every number individually.

And since PF2 is a game where every +1 is supposed to be a big deal, something like how the lower-leveled armor have a 50% higher Hardness than the statue, but loses a huge chunk of it's AC once broken, is clearly intended as something that makes the two rather distinct to fight.

Don't get me wrong, I perfectly understand the sentiment "that sort of fiddly clutter won't get my heart racing". I just think it is worth reevaluating your original goals for this thread.
That is a good point. I am forced to gloss over things a bit. Ideally, once I complete the initial review I would get a chance to go over and dig in with a bit more detail.

Happy monster bashing!
I don't think I am monster bashing, like I said they are falling in line with expectations. Would I like my expectations to be exceed, sure - but I can't really expect that ;) From my perspective - so far so good.
 

Aldarc

Hero
I'm not the biggest fan of your rankings in this thread, as I think that you are significantly underrating the art and tanking the scores that way.
 

dave2008

Legend
I'm not the biggest fan of your rankings in this thread, as I think that you are significantly underrating the art and tanking the scores that way.
I'm not trying to. But based on @CapnZapp 's comments I think I have a different view of what "average" is than you or he. Average to me is what we should expect. Good acceptable art. That is a 1. Exceptional art would be a 2, that's hard to get to in my eyes. A 0 is no art or bad/misleading art IMO. As noted in post #11 the art is a bit below average in my ranking, but a large part of that is there are several monsters with no art. If there is no art, I have to give it a 0. In general the I think the art is average - what we expect when we buy a Bestiary.

However, I think using a 3 point rank was maybe not the best idea as it doesn't have much granularity. I did that for a reason, but I understand that if you have a different viewpoint of "average" then these ranks may not work for you.

Now, I am an amateur artist, so that may skew my opinion. I feel if it is art I could do, then it is really average at best. PS, I am also an amateur wood craftsman and I feel the same way about Ikea cabinets/furniture, and I own a few of those too.

Also, art is very subjective. In the A's there is a lot of art that has a style I don't particularly like (loose and "painterly). I have tried to be clear about that in the rankings and often have given that style a 1 where I personally feel it is a 0. I realize my bias and I try to work against. That being said, I also know the style is not universal. For instance, I really like the style of the Banshee and the Pit Fiend.

Finally, I have an issue with art that doesn't match the description in the book. I think that is important in a bestiary and I am of the opinion that it shouldn't happen in this day and age. So I definitely mark down the art that doesn't match the description. I don't mark it down a whole point, but it is a note in the con column so to speak.

I hope that explains where I am coming from. If you believe the art in the book is exceptional (a 2) than that is great for you. I don't feel that way so far. To me, it has just been average, but that is good enough for me to buy it (which is one of the main reasons I but a bestiary) :)
 
Last edited:

dave2008

Legend
I'm not the biggest fan of your rankings in this thread, as I think that you are significantly underrating the art and tanking the scores that way.
I hope my previous post explained my position. But I want to be clear, I am definitely not tanking the art scores. I understand if you don't like how I rank them, that is understandable. Art is very subjective. But I have no agenda to make the scores low and, whether intended or not, that is what "tanking" means in this context. I take a wee bit of offense at that.

FYI, I am going to edit the OP to hopefully explain my scoring better.
 

Advertisement

Top