Rules | GM Screen

<- Return to All Rules (Group by Source)

All Rules in Gamemastering

+ An entry marked with this has additional sections within it.


Source Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 5
Welcome to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary! Within the pages of this tome you will encounter a wide range of monsters and creatures to pit against your players as they explore your world. The creatures featured herein have been drawn from a wide range of sources, from real-world legends and myths (where we get our dragons and demons, our basilisks and yetis), to the traditions of the RPG’s rich history (such as the shambling mound and the rust monster), to the inventions of writers both old (such as H. G. Wells’s morlocks or H. P. Lovecraft’s ghasts and shoggoths) and new. In order to fully use the creatures in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, you’ll need a copy of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. These two books comprise the core rules for the Pathfinder RPG.

While each monster is a unique creature, many possess similar special attacks, defenses, and qualities. Unique abilities are described below the monster’s stat block. Many abilities common to several monsters appear in the universal monster rules. If a monster’s listed special ability does not appear in its description, you’ll find it there.

This book’s appendices also contain a wealth of other information—you’ll find rules for altering a monster’s stats (including making it more or less powerful by applying templates, adjusting size and Hit Dice, or even giving a monster class levels), guidelines for monstrous PCs, and more.

Each monster description on the following pages is presented in the same format, split into three specific areas: Introduction, Stat Block, and Description.


Source Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 5
Each monster is presented alphabetically. In the case of a group of monsters sharing similar traits (such as outsider races and some animals or vermin), the monster’s basic name is listed first.

Monster Creation

Source Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 290
Creating a monster is part science and part art. While most monsters follow a general pattern of their overall power and abilities as related to their Challenge Rating (CR), there are many exceptions. Some monsters, for example, have significantly more hit points or a higher AC than the average for their CR, but make up for this advantage by being weak in other areas. Other monsters have significantly higher average damage, but have a lower attack bonus.

The following guidelines are provided to assist in monster creation and to help balance a creation for its CR.

Monster Advancement

Source Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 294
The following rules allow you to adjust monsters, increasing (or even decreasing) their statistics and abilities while still creating a balanced and fun encounter.

Monsters as PCs

Source Pathfinder RPG Bestiary pg. 313
Using one of the monsters presented in this book as a character can be very rewarding, but weighing such a character against others is challenging. Monsters are not designed with the rules for players in mind, and as such can be very unbalancing if not handled carefully.

There are a number of monsters in this book that do not possess racial Hit Dice. Such creatures are the best options for player characters, but a few of them are so powerful that they count as having 1 class level, even without a racial Hit Die. Such characters should only be allowed in a group that is 2nd-level or higher.

For monsters with racial Hit Dice, the best way to allow monster PCs is to pick a CR and allow all of the players to make characters using monsters of that CR. Treat the monster’s CR as its total class levels and allow the characters to multiclass into the core classes. Do not advance such monsters by adding Hit Dice. Monster PCs should only advance through classes.

If you are including a single monster character in a group of standard characters, make sure the group is of a level that is at least as high as the monster’s CR. Treat the monster’s CR as class levels when determining the monster PC’s overall levels. For example, in a group of 6th-level characters, a minotaur (CR 4) would possess 2 levels of a core class, such as barbarian.

Note that in a mixed group, the value of racial Hit Dice and abilities diminish as a character gains levels. It is recommended that for every 3 levels gained by the group, the monster character should gain an extra level, received halfway between the 2nd and 3rd levels. Repeat this process a number of times equal to half the monster’s CR, rounded down. Using the minotaur example, when the group is at a point between 6th and 7th level, the minotaur gains a level, and then again at 7th, making him a minotaur barbarian 4. This process repeats at 10th level, making him a minotaur barbarian 8 when the group reaches 10th level. From that point onward, he gains levels normally.

GMs should carefully consider any monster PCs in their groups. Some creatures are simply not suitable for play as PCs, due to their powers or role in the game. As monster characters progress, GMs should closely monitor whether such characters are disruptive or abusive to the rules and modify them as needed to improve play.