Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review - Bestiary (Pathfinder)

I know I did the reviews backwards, but I bought the Bestiary long before I started the blog, I believe I even had B2 before then, so I'm working backwards.

Paizo Publishing, LLC


Here there be monsters!

What is a hero without monsters to vanquish? This 328-page book presents hundreds of different creatures for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Within this tome you’ll find fire-breathing dragons and blood-drinking vampires, vile demons and shapechanging werewolves, sadistic goblins and lumbering giants, and so much more! Yet not all the creatures in this book are enemies, for some can serve lucky heroes as allies or advisors, be they summoned angels or capricious nymphs. And it doesn’t stop there—with full rules for advancing monsters, adapting monsters to different roles, and designing your own unique creations, you’ll never be without a band of hideous minions again!
The Pathfinder RPG Bestiary is the must-have companion volume to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium.
    The Pathfinder RPG Bestiary includes:
  • More than 350 different monsters
  • Dozens of monstrous variants to modify creatures and keep players on their toes
  • Numerous lists of monsters to aid in navigation, including lists by Challenge Rating, monster type, and habitat
  • Extensive rules for creating effective and balanced monsters
  • Rules for advancing monsters by hit dice, template, or class level
  • Universal monster rules to simplify special attacks, defenses, and qualities like breath weapons, damage reduction, and regeneration
  • More than a dozen feats tailored especially for monsters
  • Suggestions for monstrous cohorts
  • Two dozen additional animal companions
  • More than a dozen different wandering monster encounter tables
  • ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
What you get: This is the other half of the Core assumption of the Pathfinder Role-playing game. With over 350 monsters you can play entire campaigns using just the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary.  358 page hard cover full color with thick pages. 

Main Review: While you can play straight out of the book, they included monster design rules, so Game Masters that feel like they need to emulate something specific can do that as well. This book really set the bar for art for Pathfinder more so than the Core Rulebook. Many traditional monsters had face-lifts, or face asunders in the case of the Troll. The look of many monsters has really made them stand out as something special. Ogres really received an interesting change from their 3.5 counterparts, which was based upon the Rise of the Runelords ogres, rather than looking like some Japanese yokai, now they are hillbilly ogres; with all that entails, yes, I mean they have Ho-downs. 

The book covers the basics you need, demons, devils, dragons, lots of goblinoids, and many of the same monsters you'll find in the Monster Manual 1. They do deal with some things differently. XP using Pathfinder is given out by the monster more like 1st edition. There are icons on the name bar of the stat block, indicating creature type, climate and terrain. They handled creatures which normally advance by class differently by adding Character stats for races that have stat mods and racial abilities. The last major thing they added that I really love, is the variants. Skeletons don't include just the standard skeleton, they include two variants as well, basically a simple template to overlay to create even more challenges. 

Some classic monsters from the best of the best OD&D modules make their way into this Bestiary. Monsters such as the Froghemoth, and vegepygmy. Others are removed from their old roles, such as the retriever and kyton. While new categories separate old groups, such as the celestials being split into more factions, like the Azata, Archons and Angels. Of course the most famous of all the reworked monsters is that little ball of insanity, the Goblin.

Great monster book, as the core of Pathfinder, if you're running this game you need this book.

Artwork: One of the best things that Paizo has done is re-envisioned many of the monsters. Wayne Reynolds did the cover as usual, featuring a Troll, the new Goblins and a Marilith. Aditional art by 

Family Rating: As this is a core rulebook, I will add a family rating. Some racy artwork and some particularly frightening pieces (to young children) in the book, so I'd say rated PG, parental guidance is suggested.

Cost: $39.99 Print, $9.99 PDF

Overall Rating: Must Have

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