Rules Index


Adjusting Creatures

Source Bestiary pg. 6
Sometimes you might need to customize a creature based on the needs of your story or the narrative circumstances as your story unfolds. This section guides you through some basic strategies you can use to adjust creatures. It includes quick adjustments you can make to a creature to alter its level. You might also need to adjust a creature’s languages or gear, or know its proficiency ranks in skills or Perception.

Combat Power

Source Bestiary pg. 6
The creatures presented in this book have appropriate statistics for their levels. In many cases, you can make relatively minor adjustments, called elite and weak adjustments, to their statistics to make them function 1 level higher or lower than presented.

Elite and weak adjustments work best with creatures that focus on physical combat. These adjustments overstate the normal numerical gains the creature would make from increasing its level to make up for the lack of new special abilities. As such, when applied multiple times to the same creature, these adjustments cause its statistics to become less accurate for the creature’s level. These adjustments have a greater effect on the power level of low-level creatures; applying elite adjustments to a level –1 creature gives you one closer to 1st level, and applying weak adjustments to a 1st-level creature gives you one whose level is closer to –1.

Creatures that cast spells or rely on noncombat abilities typically need specific adjustments to those spells or abilities.

Elite Adjustment

Source Bestiary pg. 6
Sometimes you’ll want a creature that’s just a bit more powerful than normal so that you can present a challenge that would otherwise be trivial, or show that one enemy is stronger than its kin. To do this quickly and easily, apply the elite adjustments to its statistics as follows:
  • Increase the creature’s AC, attack modifiers, DCs, saving throws, Perception, and skill modifiers by 2.
  • Increase the damage of its Strikes and other offensive abilities by 2. If the creature has limits on how many times or how often it can use an ability (such as a spellcaster’s spells or a dragon’s Breath Weapon), increase the damage by 4 instead.
  • Increase the creature’s Hit Points based on its starting level (see the table below).

Elite Adjustment

Starting LevelHP Increase
1 or lower10
2-415
5-1920
20+30

Weak Adjustments

Source Bestiary pg. 6
Sometimes you’ll want a creature that’s weaker than normal so you can use a creature that would otherwise be too challenging, or show that one enemy is weaker than its kin. To do this quickly and easily, apply the weak adjustments to its statistics as follows.
  • Decrease the creature’s AC, attack modifiers, DCs, saving throws, and skill modifiers by 2.
  • Decrease the damage of its Strikes and other offensive abilities by 2. If the creature has limits on how many times or how often it can use an ability (such as a spellcaster’s spells or a dragon’s Breath Weapon), decrease the damage by 4 instead.
  • Decrease the creature’s HP based on its starting level.

Weak Adjustment

Starting LevelHP Decrease
1-2-10
3-5-15
6-20-20
21+-30

Language

Source Bestiary pg. 7
The languages listed in a creature’s entry are what a typical creature of that type knows. However, you might want to vary these based on the specific creature. For instance, if a creature is interested in speaking with or understanding the people in its region, it would most likely know the language those people speak. This language is most often Common, but you can give it a more appropriate language depending on what region the creature lives in (such as Undercommon if the creature lives in the Darklands).

Beings from other planes are unlikely to know any languages from the Material Plane unless they frequently travel there. If such a creature knows a mortal language, then that creature likely is interested in communicating with mortals. This language is most often Common, although such keep in mind that such a creature should speak Common only if it specifically travels to or studies your campaign’s world and region above others.

The languages in Pathfinder can be found here

Gear

Source Bestiary pg. 7
Some creatures rely on gear, like armor and weapons. You might need statistics for such a creature that doesn’t have its gear. For example, a creature could be Disarmed, it might be ambushed while it’s out of its armor, or one of its worn magic items could be disabled with dispel magic. In most cases, you can simply improvise, but if you want to be more exacting, use these guidelines for weapons and armor.

If a creature loses its weapon, it might draw another weapon or use an unarmed attack. If it uses a Strike it doesn’t have listed in its stat block, find a Strike entry for the creature that most closely matches the substitute, reduce the attack modifier by 2, and use the damage dice for the new Strike. If the creature needs to make an unarmed attack and doesn’t have one listed in its stat block, it uses the statistics for a fist (Core Rulebook 280). If the creature loses a weapon with a weapon potency rune, you usually should reduce the attack modifier by 2 plus the bonus granted by the weapon’s potency rune for the new weapon. For example, if the creature is Disarmed of its +1 mace, then you would reduce the attack modifier by 3 instead of 2 for the new Strike.

If a creature doesn’t have its armor, find the armor in its Items entry and reduce the creature’s AC by that armor’s item bonus (Core Rulebook 275). If the armor has a potency rune, increase the reduction as appropriate; for example, if the creature has a suit of +2 chain mail in its statistics, and the characters catch the creature without its armor, you would reduce the creature’s AC by 6 instead of 4. If the armor has a resilient rune, reduce the creature’s saves based on the rune’s type (1 for resilient, 2 for greater resilient, or 3 for major resilient).

Skills, Perception, and Proficiency

Source Bestiary pg. 7
In some situations, such as when a creature is trying to Disable a PC’s snare, you need to know the creature’s proficiency rank. Creatures are trained in the skills listed in their stat blocks. Because monsters aren’t created using the same rules as PCs, they are untrained in skills that aren’t listed. A creature usually has expert proficiency in its listed skills around 5th level, master proficiency around 9th level, and legendary proficiency around 17th level. A creature might need a certain proficiency rank in Perception to detect certain things. Many creatures have expert proficiency in Perception, and improve to master proficiency around 7th level and legendary proficiency around 13th level.

At your discretion, creatures with world-class aptitude at a particular skill or in Perception, such as a doppelganger with Deception, might have a higher rank in that skill or Perception.