Thursday, October 29, 2009

The latest purchase from my FLGS, pt.6

Today is my birthday, a characteristic I evidently share with James "Grognardia" Maliszewski (although I am 4 years older). It is unlikely JM reads this blog (or is even aware of it), but if you are reading James, Happy Birthday! Anyway, as if on cue, the much-awaited Pathfinder Bestiary arrived at my FLGS this very day. Grasping a handful of shekels generously provided by my family for this very purpose, I headed downtown and bought myself a copy. The Pathfinder Bestiary delivers everything we've come to expect from Paizo. The artwork is, for the most part, top-rate and in some cases, truly outstanding. All the important monsters are presented, except for the well-known non-OGL creations like the beholder and the mind flayer. There are some surprises. Some monsters have undergone significant changes in appearance (the troll being the most significant) or design (the ogre mage is now an oni, a type of outsider). There are also a few new monsters. One in particular had me picking my jaw up off the floor, that being the SHOGGOTH! Holy crap! An iconic Cthulhu Mythos monster is in there. My first question is, "How did that happen?" Chaosium is notoriously protective of its rights to the Mythos. Did this just slip past or is it indicative of some sort of arrangement that may allow future Mythos entries into the Pathfinder campaign setting? You cannot imagine my excitement if it turns out to be the latter.

I do have a couple of minor complaints. There is precious little in there on playing monstrous races such as gnolls as PCs. This is certainly something that can be adapted from D&D 3.5, but it does some odd that the designers don't seem to feel this is a priority for players. The other obvious omission is advancement guidelines for monsters. Again, this is easily adapted from 3.5, but I don't understand the reason for leaving it out. Still, despite these minor issues, the Pathfinder Bestiary is excellent. Go out and buy it.


One more thing, the medusa is hotter than the succubus. That just ain't right. Also, dryads apparently now wear Prada.

Edit: Upon further reading, I see that monster advancement rules are to be found in the appendices and they seem pretty similar to those in D&D 3.5.


Obiri said...

There were many comments about this on the Paizo message boards as well.

The offical word is that the old CR adjustments didn't work very well, they couldn't come up with a better system so they just dropped the whole thing and left it to DM fiat.
They threw out a few guidelines as I am sure you noticed (a few paragraphs near the back).

They will probably do a book about it eventually but I think I prefer a freestyle system that everyone agrres is fair then a bunch of rules that break down after a few levels.

As for the Shoggoth, didn't copyright on that expire and therefore its now open content?

Rognar said...

It would be cool if everything Cthulhu was now public domain. I would be totally happy seeing a few Mythos beasties released in each new Pathfinder bestiary.