Monday, January 30, 2012

Perusing Pathfinder's Bestiary 3

Welcome to post 600.

I picked up the pdf of Pathfinder Bestiary 3 last week.  I had heard it had some Lovecraftian creatures in it, and I was curious, but in general, I like mining monster manuals for ideas.  Paizo's previous entries in the Bestiary series have been pretty good in this regard.

First off, there are a lot of mythological creatures repurposed in tried and true rpg fashion.  Quite a few of these are of Asian derivation making this suitable for a "Oriental Adventures" sort of game.  There are also creatures from the myths of Native Americans, Inuit, and Pacific Islanders as well.  The Fiend Folio and Filipino folklore veteran, the Berbalang, makes an appearance.

There are a lot of other Fiend Folio also-rans.  The dire corby, adherer and the flumph get entries, for reasons beyond my understanding.  There are some Monster Manual II refugees too.

There are the obligatory expansions to giants, dragons, demons and devils.  As is typical, the ranks of evil classes of creatures get expanded with the divs (evil genies) and asuras (philosophic devil sorts), and our old friends the demodands (who all look much more militant and badass in their illustration than the MM2 originals).

One of the things I like is the cryptid and more modern folklore entries.  There's the hodak and globster from North America and the kongamato, lukwata and popobala (which was changed for some reason from popobawa) from Africa.

The aforementioned Lovecraftian critters include the moon-beast, voonith, and Yithians.  There are other literary borrowings including the bandersnatch and the jubjub bird from Lewis Carroll and monsters likely inspired by other media: the hungry fog and the sargassum fiend.

There are a lot of original monsters, of course.  Some of these (like the bogeyman and the pale stranger) are interesting, but seem better suited to a non-Medieval game.  Then there's the cold rider, who's sort of a frosty Nazgul astride a demonic reindeer, and the deathweb--the husk of a giant spider animated by thousands of little spiders!   Both of these guys would make cool one shots, at least.

Overall, I think it's a decent selection of monsters.  More time is spent on more of particular, familiar clades of creatures than I would like (more giants, demons, devils, and variant dragons and dragon-like creatures), but I really like Paizo keeping alive the tendency to borrow entries from literature and modern folklore in addition to mythology.

11 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Some of those I had actually heard of.....

Tim Shorts said...

Congrats on 600 posts.

I'm a big fan of Pazio's Bestiarys, but haven't gotten the third yet. I plan to soon. Thanks for the overview. And keep on posting.

Jack said...

What's the fluff--to-crunch ratio in those bestiaries?

Trey said...

I would say it's at roughly 3e standards. Monsters are minimum a page with approximately half being rules, but it varies a bit.

Pierce said...

Congrats on 600.

Yeah, Paizo is putting out an oriental adventure type adventure path right now. The first in the series actually features dire corbies.

Joshua said...

Although I have little interest in playing Pathfinder, I still buy their pdfs pretty regularly. At $10/pop, I find that they're worth it for the artwork alone, which I can extract and use as display pieces for my own games.

Trey said...

@Pierce - Ah. That explains it.

@Joshua - I agree. They've always got something useable.

Anathemata said...

Congrats on 600!

I particularly like the Moon-Beast, the Kappa, and the Ceratioidi (which I believe are meant to be replacements for the Kuo-Toa). I keep waiting to find out what the folks at Paizo are going to come up with the replace the Mind Flayers--maybe the Moon Beast is it. Can't wait for Distant Worlds to come out!

Trey said...

Good call on the Ceratiodi--I hadn't thought about the Kuo-toa angle. Distant Worlds should indeed be cool.

Timothy Brannan said...

Congrats on 600 posts!

I'll have to pick this up. I enjoy the Pathfinder books even though I am not playing a Pathfinder game at the moment.

Needles said...

Congrats on 600 posts! I've always had a soft spot for Paizo's stuff. Glad to see a great review of this! Nice to know their something else I can mine! Keep up the great work.