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Chapter 2: Tools / Building Creatures

Develop the Concept

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 56
To begin making a creature, you should first come up with its concept. You likely already have the basic idea. As you add details to the general idea, taking notes can help keep your creature on track. Consider the parts of your creature you find most compelling and that you want to emphasize when the creature hits the table. For example, in the Bestiary, demons are creatures of sin, and are designed to have weaknesses against specific virtues that oppose them. Harpies enchant creatures by singing, represented by their centerpiece ability, Captivating Song. Note your creature’s core aspects, and if you feel uncertain later, you can look back and ask yourself, “Does this emphasize a core aspect or not?”

Next, look at the creature’s role in your game. Is it meant to be a combatant? A social creature? A trusted ally? Figuring this out will help you determine whether to give it strong combat abilities or to focus on skills, spells, and special abilities. Think about how the creature might behave if it’s in a fight, if someone tries to talk to it, or if it’s in a social situation. Does it work better alone or with allies? What sort of character should be best at facing it or be particularly weak against it?

Consider also the complexity of the creature. This matters most when you plan to use a large number of creatures of that type. If you’ll use five at the same time, you’ll want their turns to move swiftly and avoid complex special actions. A creature likely to face a group of PCs alone can have more abilities, and it might need a more versatile set of defenses against PC tactics. Cut complexity as much as you can while retaining your desired theme.

Now, how do you want an encounter with this creature to feel? Should it be scary? Mobile? Confusing? A mystical duel or a knock-down, drag-out fight? What can you give your creature to convey those characteristics? Note that much of this feel will come from your choice of the creature’s special abilities or spells, rather than its raw numbers.

With all this in mind, think about the specific abilities your creature should have. Take a few notes now, and get to the details later. You can use abilities from the Bestiary or feats in the Core Rulebook, adjusting as needed, to save yourself time. It helps to think of a creature that’s similar to yours and see what makes it tick—and what you can steal from it. Maybe you can just reskin that creature (page 58), instead of making a new one from scratch.

Now that you understand your creature’s concept, it’s time to get to the statistics. Remember that you can always change your concept later on. Your creation might evolve and transform as you go, so be open to change and revisions.