PF2 'Work In Progress' NPCs from Gamemastery Guide

Paizo has shared a page from its upcoming Pathfinder Second Edition: Gamemastery Guide. "You will have a fair selection of prebuilt NPCs to fill your world! Or maybe, have one of them become the villain? How would you tie this NPC into your story?" The book is slated for January 2020.

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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
One of the things I really like in what I see here as well as the monster design in the Bestiary is the designers' willingness to break from the creature math to capture the essence of what they are designer. I like that we can have NPCs who are really good at a skill without being combat monsters. I particularly like how it notates that for the purpose of experience you can have say an envoy who is a higher level challenge in a social encounter, but would easily lose in a fight to the characters.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
I am somewhat confused by the skills of some of Plague Doctor. I swear the Plague Doctor is just a Cleric with the serial number filed off, and the only thing on that stat block that is not compatible with a cleric of the same level is the number of skills and apparent master proficiency in Plague Lore.

Plague Doctor
versatile human field medic cleric 5, neutral
str 10 dex 12 con 18 int 14 wis 18 cha 14 (at level 1 str 10 dex 10 con 16 int 12 wis 18 cha 12)
feats
ancestral - natural ambition/healing hands
background -
class - domain initiate/healing, communal healing 2, improved communal healing 4
skill -
general - toughness 3
skills
trained - intimidation
expert - religion, medicine
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I am somewhat confused by the skills of some of Plague Doctor. I swear the Plague Doctor is just a Cleric with the serial number filed off, and the only thing on that stat block that is not compatible with a cleric of the same level is the number of skills and apparent master proficiency in Plague Lore.

Plague Doctor
versatile human field medic cleric 5, neutral
str 10 dex 12 con 18 int 14 wis 18 cha 14 (at level 1 str 10 dex 10 con 16 int 12 wis 18 cha 12)
feats
ancestral - natural ambition/healing hands
background -
class - domain initiate/healing, communal healing 2, improved communal healing 4
skill -
general - toughness 3
skills
trained - intimidation
expert - religion, medicine
The NPCs here are built like Monsters - not like PCs. The numbers are usually supposed to be pretty close, but you just give them the things you think they need. You can still choose to use the PC build rules if you want.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
This is sorely needed!

(Maybe you won't fight the good Doctor, but I'm assuming bandits, cutthroats, barbarian warriors...)
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
I have not seen the rules for how to build them. The Surgeon is more clearly built with Monster rules - their ability modifies add up to 11, not 9, as would be normal for a level 2 PC. And of course Medical Malpractice is unique.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
One of the things I really like in what I see here as well as the monster design in the Bestiary is the designers' willingness to break from the creature math to capture the essence of what they are designer. I like that we can have NPCs who are really good at a skill without being combat monsters. I particularly like how it notates that for the purpose of experience you can have say an envoy who is a higher level challenge in a social encounter, but would easily lose in a fight to the characters.
Well, I would agree (wholeheartedly) except the doctor has 73 hit points...

She's no inexperienced commoner that's for sure - that many hit points indicates a certain familiarity with violence. She might not have a minmaxed damage output but she certainly can "roll with the blow" (or however you explain hit points)...

A more direct test would if you can have a NPC with Commoner stats in everything (=dies in one blow) except the skill bonus a PC can only reach at 5th or 10th level...
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
Are the rules for building Monsters in the Bestiary or will they only be forthcoming in the GameMastery Guide? (I hope they just put the extra space in there and make it Game Mastery Guide this time around.)
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Well, I would agree (wholeheartedly) except the doctor has 73 hit points...

She's no inexperienced commoner that's for sure - that many hit points indicates a certain familiarity with violence. She might not have a minmaxed damage output but she certainly can "roll with the blow" (or however you explain hit points)...

A more direct test would if you can have a NPC with Commoner stats in everything (=dies in one blow) except the skill bonus a PC can only reach at 5th or 10th level...
With a few differences the Plague Doctor is definitely a straight up Cleric with all that entails.

If you can have a Surgeon who is Level 2 for purposes of combat prowess, but Level 6 for Medicine I don't see why you could not have an NPC that is Level -1 with say Religion of a 10th Level PC. Maybe a lay priest who knows a ritual the PCs need performed that they need to escort to a specific temple.

We have already seen multiple cases where monsters in the Bestiary are substantially different from others of their level. Zombie Shamblers only have 2 actions, have much lower than expected armor class and substantially higher hit points than most creatures of their level. Demons have higher hit points but a weakness to good damage. In a lot of cases where they would have used damage reduction in the past they increased hit points and used the weakness mechanic.

Are the rules for building Monsters in the Bestiary or will they only be forthcoming in the GameMastery Guide? (I hope they just put the extra space in there and make it Game Mastery Guide this time around.)
The monster/NPC building guidelines will be in the Game Mastery Guide, but they are also planning to release them in PDF form in October alongside the play test for the Investigator, Oracle, Swashbuckler and Witch.
 
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Kaodi

Adventurer
Ah, good.

As an aside, have they said anything about what those classes are going to look like? I know Swashbuckler is "ultimate mobility fighter" aka something between a fighter, rogue, and monk, but is Oracle going to be a dedicated spontaneous divine caster, the Witch a dedicated prepared occult caster, and the Investigator some kind of rogue/alchemist? Because there are ways where one could take a page from the Sorcerer and give Oracle and Witch alternative spell list options.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
They have said they really want to lean into the Oracle's Curse and that the new edition gives them the design space to do so. Not sure what that means. They said the Sorcerer design gives them room to breathe and really make the Oracle different.

They also have said Investigator will really lean into the skill system. Also not sure what that means.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I don't see why you could not have an NPC that is Level -1 with say Religion of a 10th Level PC. Maybe a lay priest who knows a ritual the PCs need performed that they need to escort to a specific temple.
Yeah, sure, but the question is - are there any such official examples. That's the thing, innit?

(I mean, I'm not chiefly talking about what I can do with the monster building guidelines myself. I'm wondering if they fully go "show don't tell" and include any 10 hp experts in their selection of statted NPCs...

We have already seen multiple cases where monsters in the Bestiary are substantially different from others of their level. Zombie Shamblers only have 2 actions, have much lower than expected armor class and substantially higher hit points than most creatures of their level. Demons have higher hit points but a weakness to good damage. In a lot of cases where they would have used damage reduction in the past they increased hit points and used the weakness mechanic.
Well, to be honest that's something else, something much less radical... Just playing around with the parameters is one thing.

To have 10 hp experts with the skill bonus of a level 5 or 10 player character you must break, not bend, the connection between hit dice / levels on one hand, and skill bonuses on the other.

The Plague Doctor doesn't say.

Or rather, she indicates that Paizo is not willing to have NPCs with skills but not the levels...

That's why I'm interested in more examples!
 

Zaukrie

Adventurer
I always just built monsters however I liked. I don't get why any being would be the same as any other, necessarily. I've never played PF, but I'm pretty sure I will now. Everything just looks more interesting in combat than 5e.
 

Green Onceler

Explorer
the Witch
I'm particularly interested to see how the Witch is handled.

It is my favourite class in Pathfinder but, more than that, their entire raison d'être, the save or suck spell, has been greatly weakened in the new game. Will facing a coven still be a terrifying experience, pitting your character's saves against the witches' pimped DCs in a struggle of life or death?

At the moment, I just can't see it. But, I'm very curious to see what they come up with.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I'm particularly interested to see how the Witch is handled.

It is my favourite class in Pathfinder but, more than that, their entire raison d'être, the save or suck spell, has been greatly weakened in the new game. Will facing a coven still be a terrifying experience, pitting your character's saves against the witches' pimped DCs in a struggle of life or death?

At the moment, I just can't see it. But, I'm very curious to see what they come up with.
PF2 is much more a balanced game, meaning you should expect few or no shortcuts to depleting the monster's hit points over several rounds of combat.

In the same vein, it should no longer be possible to create a character that defeats foes quickly, bypassing the need for damage.

What magic can do and does do, is facilitate this process by buffing your allies and debuffing the enemies.

I mean, apart from exploding a fireball in their face and such.

While there are only a few bonus types in the game there are lots of different kinds of debuffs (conditions), so I imagine a Witch will be able to shoot lots of little -1's at the BBEG.

What I don't imagine they will be able to do, however, is what the dev team clearly views as a bug and problem with PF1: cast a single save or suck spell that instantly either wins the combat or does absolutely nothing.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
If the Witch is a prepared Occult caster I will be interested to see if they manage to outshine the Bard. I hope that White-Haired Witch is going some kind of option in their "core" set, because that was one of my favourite things about them in PF1. Otherwise the Hag bloodline probably points to some of what we can expect.
 

Green Onceler

Explorer
What I don't imagine they will be able to do, however, is what the dev team clearly views as a bug and problem with PF1: cast a single save or suck spell that instantly either wins the combat or does absolutely nothing.
Indeed. And this is one of several reasons I don't feel this game is for me. Having to grind through hit points of every foe on the battle mat sounds like a real bore to me. That's what I disliked about 5e.

I understand their rationale for this change, it's just not for me. I find there are more enjoyable ways to mitigate save or suck at the table.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Save or suck spells are still pretty good against at level enemies. It's really only higher level enemies they become not good against. A reasonable house rule if this is an issue for you is to simply ignore the Incapacitation trait.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
I still think it is kinda weird that there are no PC ancestry enemies other than goblins in the Bestiary. I mean maybe you can just reskin some of them to be human or elf or dwarf or what not but in general either you believe that a "monster" can be anything or you do not. So either there should be elves and dwarves and gnomes in the Bestiary or there should not be drow, or hobgoblins, or kobolds, or lizardfolk, all ancestries that appeared in the Advanced Race Guide,
 

dave2008

Hero
I still think it is kinda weird that there are no PC ancestry enemies other than goblins in the Bestiary. I mean maybe you can just reskin some of them to be human or elf or dwarf or what not but in general either you believe that a "monster" can be anything or you do not. So either there should be elves and dwarves and gnomes in the Bestiary or there should not be drow, or hobgoblins, or kobolds, or lizardfolk, all ancestries that appeared in the Advanced Race Guide,
The game just came out - give it some time to fill out!
 

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