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Theme Templates

Source Character Guide pg. 116 2.0
Even with these provided NPC statistics, it might still be challenging to flesh out the full ranks of a major organization, as you might need many different members of varying level and rank. The final part of this section presents a number of theme templates that you can apply to an existing creature or NPC stat block to help meet the need for your encounter or story. These templates are intended to provide a different set of abilities and equipment that grant a generic creature the appropriate flavor to present a character that is part of an organization without having to create a new set of statistics from scratch.

If you'd like to create your own theme templates, you can use these existing adjustments as a framework, though creating a creature or NPC from the ground up is recommended when possible and when time permits. These templates are fast and easy ways to make adjustments that are roughly balanced and that contain significant flavor of the organization.

Using Theme Templates

Source Character Guide pg. 116 2.0
A theme template provides a number of changes or additional equipment, skills, and abilities that you apply to the creature. Each of the templates in this book briefly introduces the organization the template is meant to represent, followed by a recommendation for effective roleplaying when using a creature with the template.

All Creatures

Source Character Guide pg. 116 2.0
This entry applies to all creatures that have the theme template applied, regardless of level. For example, if a template states to add the lawful trait and remove the chaotic trait, that would alter a creature's alignment from chaotic evil to lawful evil.


Source Character Guide pg. 117 2.0
After any alterations that apply to all creatures, the templates list different entries based on the level of the creature to which the template is being applied. For example, a 5th-level creature would receive both the ability listed under the 1st Level or Higher entry and the 4th Level or Higher entry. Each of these entries are cumulative, meaning it's possible for a creature to gain several abilities or changes based on its level. When you add a theme template at a higher level that grants numerous additional abilities, you should strongly consider removing one of the creature's original abilities to compensate, especially if the new abilities are highly advantageous for the creature. A theme template might even specifically instruct you to remove additional abilities. An alternative, depending on the target level, is to raise the creature's level by 1 and adjust its numerical statistics accordingly, adding the template's abilities without taking anything away. Either way, a template adds abilities based on the creature's final level; for example, if you raise a 6th-level creature to 7th level, adjust its numbers, and add a template, the creature would gain the template abilities from the 7th Level or Higher entry. If the theme template provides a creature with an innate spell or ability that requires a DC, use an appropriate DC based on the creature's level.


Source Character Guide pg. 117 2.0
In some cases, a template lists one or more skills that should be added to the base creature's skills. The creature gains this skill as a primary or secondary skill, depending on if it has a good associated ability modifier. For example, a creature with a +5 Dexterity modifier that gains the Acrobatics skill should gain it as a primary skill, while a creature with a –1 Dexterity modifier should instead gain Acrobatics as a secondary skill. If the creature already had the skill, increase it to a higher bonus.


Source Character Guide pg. 117 2.0
If a creature gains new equipment from a theme template, this equipment should not alter any of the creature's statistics, aside from adding a new Strike if it gains a new weapon, even if the new equipment would normally do so. For example, if a creature gains the Hellknight theme template and replaces its leather armor with Hellknight plate, the Hellknight plate itself would not alter the creature's AC (although the creature would increase its AC by 1 due to the 1st Level or Higher entry). At your discretion, you can make adjustments for the new equipment, but if you do so, you might give the creature more advantages and disadvantages than the template accounts for.

Theme Templates and Monsters

Source Character Guide pg. 117 2.0
While these theme templates are mainly intended to be applied to existing NPC stat blocks, they can be applied to other creatures with ease. This can help you create unique or otherwise interesting NPCs, such as a minotaur who is a member of the Pathfinder Society or a ghost who serves the Whispering Way. When using these templates, use the one that most represents the creature's intended affiliations; while it is technically possible to have a creature that is a member of multiple organizations, such as a character who is a member of both the Pathfinders and the Hellknights, using more than one template is not recommended, and any templates with mutually incompatible instructions (such as one template that requires the creature to remove the chaotic trait and gain the lawful trait and one template that requires the creature to remove the lawful trait and gain the chaotic trait) should not be combined.