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Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide


Playing Creatures

Source Bestiary pg. 5
While the other players portray their characters, you as the Game Master get to play everyone else. This section provides the basics for using the creatures in this book. It guides you through the process of reading and understanding the creatures’ statistics so the creature can either provide a threat or serve as an ally in and out of combat. It also provides general advice for roleplaying creatures to help provide more depth to the creatures in your game’s world.

Reading Creature Statistics

Source Bestiary pg. 5
Each creature’s rules appear in a stat block, with a structure similar to those of feats, spells, and magic items. Because creatures have more abilities than those game elements, however, their statistics include more entries, many of which have special formats.

A creature’s traits line sometimes begins with a rarity; if the creature’s rarity is common, no rarity is listed. The next entry is its alignment, which is given as a one- or two-letter abbreviation (LG for lawful good, N for neutral, CE for chaotic evil, and so on); these abbreviations are listed comprehensively on page 345. Next is the creature’s size (Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, or Gargantuan). Any other traits are then listed. The traits appearing in this book, including some traits from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, can be found in Creature Traits on page 344.

Actions and activities the creature can use have the appropriate icons next to those abilities’ names noting how many actions they require. A creature always has the requisite proficiency ranks or other abilities required to use what’s listed in its stat block. For instance, a spellcasting creature can perform the Cast a Spell activity, and a creature is never untrained with any of its items.

Some abilities are abbreviated in stat blocks and described in full in the Ability Glossary on pages 342–344.

Creature Name Level

Uncommon Alignment Abbreviation Size Other Traits
Perception The creature’s Perception modifier is listed here, followed by any special senses.
Languages The languages for a typical creature of that kind are listed here, followed by any special communication abilities. If a creature lacks this entry, it cannot communicate with or understand another creature through language.
Skills The creature is trained or better in these skills. For untrained skills, use the corresponding ability modifier.
Ability Modifiers The creature’s ability modifiers are listed here.
Items Any significant gear the creature carries is listed here.
Interaction Abilities Special abilities that affect how a creature perceives and interacts with the world are listed here.
AC, followed by any special bonuses to AC; Saving Throws A special bonus to a specific save appears in parentheses after that save’s bonus. Any special bonuses to all three saving throws against particular types of effects are listed after the three saves.
HP, followed by automatic abilities that affect the creature’s Hit Points or healing; Immunities; Weaknesses; Resistances Any immunities, weaknesses, or resistances the creature has are listed here.
Automatic Abilities The creature’s auras, any abilities that automatically affect its defenses, and the like are listed here.
Reactive Abilities Free actions or reactions that are usually triggered when it’s not the creature’s turn are listed here.
Speed, followed by any other Speeds or movement abilities.
Melee Single ActionSingle Action (traits; some weapon traits, such as deadly, include their calculations for convenience) The name of the weapon or unarmed attack the creature uses for a melee Strike, followed by the attack modifier and traits in parentheses. If a creature has any abilities or gear that would affect its attack modifier, such as a weapon with a +1 weapon potency rune, those calculations are already included, Damage amount and damage type, plus any additional effects (this entry is Effect if the Strike doesn’t deal damage).
Ranged Single ActionSingle Action As Melee, but also lists range or range increment with traits, Damage as Melee.
Spells The entry starts with the magical tradition and whether the spells are prepared or spontaneous, followed by the DC (and attack modifier if any spells require spell attack rolls). Spells are listed by level, followed by cantrips. A spell prepared multiple times lists the number of times in parentheses—for example, “(×2).” Spontaneous spells list the number of spell slots after the spell level.
Innate Spells These are listed like other spells, but can also include constant, at-will, and focus spells. If the creature has a focus spell as an innate spell, it works like other innate spells with listed uses, rather than costing Focus Points. Spells that can be used an unlimited number of times list “(at will)” after the spell’s name. Constant spells appear at the end, separated by level. Rules for constant and at-will spells appear on page 342 in the Ability Glossary.
Focus Spells If a creature has focus spells, this entry lists the spells’ level, the Focus Points in the creature’s focus pool, the DC, and those spells.
Rituals Any rituals the creature can cast appear here.
Offensive or Proactive Abilities Any actions, activities, or abilities that automatically affect the creature’s offense, as well as free actions or reactions that are usually triggered on the creature’s turn, appear here in alphabetical order.

Roleplaying Creatures

Source Bestiary pg. 6
Whether it’s an adversary or a potential ally, a creature might have a very different worldview than the PCs. When roleplaying creatures, think about how they experience the world differently due to their senses, physiology, and habitat. Each creature entry in this book gives you some context about the creature’s worldview, motivations, ecology, and societies. Many sections have sidebars that provide relevant facts about creatures (labeled with the icons listed in the Sidebar Icons section on page 7). You can use the information in each creature entry as cues on how to roleplaying the creature in and out of combat. These cues can be as simple as a difference in idioms (perhaps saying “in the other tentacle” rather than “on the other hand”) and as complex as determining motivations, hopes, and dreams for an individual creature. Understanding a creature you’re playing also informs what tactics they’ll use, as well as whether they are willing to surrender or flee when things don’t go their way.