Pathfinder: Bestiary 6 Review

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6 Bestiaries in, and Paizo’s team is still delivering the goods…

When the fiend-adorned copy of the latest Bestiary for Pathfinder crossed my desk, I was a little skeptical. I thought, oh man, there have been six of these things so far. What else can they do, where else can they go from here? I started flipping through it, looking for (even expecting to find) an example of a monster where they were clearly phoning it in. Which, I mean you couldn’t blame them for, this is the sixth iteration of a book full of monsters. And one advertising more than 200 different monsters, no less.

But to my surprise (and delight) every time I thought, “Aha! I found it… look at how dumb this monster is…” I’d read a little more and then get excited about how you could use the thing. I am impressed, and happy to have been wrong. This book is great, and it is a fantastic example of not just different monsters, but different stories for the game. One of the things about Pathfinder (for better or worse) is that it’s huge. You could play a hundred campaigns and still not tackle all of the distinct themes in there.

Whether we’re talking about demons and devils or empyreals or weird construct creatures–there’s enough material here for a few wildly different campaigns, each with their own unique theme with basically no overlap. You could, for instance, run a campaign centered around the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (who feature prominently in this book) and their servitors, as your players struggle against the encroaching end of days.

Don’t like that? Pit your players against the Archdevils that populate the early pages of the book–dig out mythical and biblical names like Dispater, Belial, Mephistopheles, and Mammon. Or deal with the Wild Hunt, or the veritable plague of new giants. Although, talking about mythology brings us neatly around to the central theme of the book, so let’s talk about that for a moment.

This book draws heavily on myth and legend for its inspiration, much like the Monster Manuals of the days of yore. And I think it helps. Within these pages you’ll find a number of monsters, big and small, inspired by folklore and legend. This is no new thing for gaming–after all, even the Tarrasque was based on a folkloric beast that both terrorized and taught a lesson to the town of Taraschon, France. And the team over at Paizo digs just as deep into the realm of myth–giving you monsters like the Green Man, inspired by an ancient symbol of nature.

Or the Kamaitachi (or knife-weasel as I like to call it), which is inspired by ancient legends of a sickle-footed angry spirit in Japan. The list goes on, but it’s very much leaning into the stories that are a part of our collective heritage to give us villains and allies to use around the table.

Krampus makes an appearance. Yup. That Krampus. And he absolutely will stuff you into his bag if you’ve been naughty.

Or just… y’know…because.

I love it–there’s a playful seriousness to these monsters. Like they are absolutely threatening, and there’s no shortage of high-end, epic-tier, mythic monsters of CR 25+. But they aren’t afraid to be just a little playful with the tone, almost as though they want you to have fun with these monsters.

Take a look at Lord Varklops, a three headed Kaiju and vague King Ghidorah analogue.

Maybe vague isn’t the right word.

He has an ability called Improved Hurl Foe, which doubles the effectiveness of the Kaiju special ability, Hurl Foe, which is exactly what you think it is–a knockback effect that can be applied to certain attacks made by these guys, because they’re very much giant monsters. And Varklops is a dedicated Kaijuslayer, who loves battling the other Kaiju and destroying them. But is susceptible to team-up attacks, owing to an ability called Distracted When Outnumbered which basically boils down to: whenever Lord Varklops is faced with two or more Kaiju (and it has to be Kaiju) he is unable to focus on which one to attack and loses some of his special Kaijuslaying powers. And naturally he’s particularly vengeful towards Godzilla King Mogaru.

There are other Kaiju in here as well, including Biolante Vorgozen, and Yarthoon the Moon Grub, which makes me wonder if the Moon Grub won’t one day turn into a Moon Moth…ra.

At any rate, the book is fun. And it’s full of interesting ideas–even the little monsters are as great and fun to play around with as the massive CR 28-30 big guys. For instance, take the Slithering Pit, which is probably my favorite monster in the whole book. It’s a magic ooze that’s created when an ooze ends up digesting an extradimensional space. So, your level 1 adventurer who just found that bag of holding gets caught in that gelatinous cube and et, then there’s a chance that as that bag is digested (along with your remains) the magic gets absorbed by the ooze and transforms it into an extradimensional well that is capable of devouring foes and sliding around under them.

It’s amazing, and it builds off of stuff that’s surely happened in-game. It made me rethink “throwaway” interactions like that.

So check out this book. It’s got something for everyone.

Bestiary 6$44.99 (Hardcover) $9.99 (.pdf)

Monsters have long stalked us in the darkness. Within this book, you’ll find a host of these creatures for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Face off against archdevils and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, planar dragons and the legendary wild hunt, proteans and psychopomps, and hundreds more! Some creatures, such as the capricious taniwha, the mysterious green man, or the powerful empyreal lords, might even be willing to provide your heroes aid—if they deserve it!

Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6 is the sixth indispensable volume of monsters for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and serves as a companion to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook and Pathfinder RPG Bestiary. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.

Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 6 includes more than 200 different monsters to terrorize your players with as well as some new player-friendly races like the crazed monkey goblins, the telepathic albino munavris, the river-dwelling fey naiads, the wolflike rougarou, and the yaddithians of the Elder Mythos.

Inside you’ll find numerous powerful demigods, from archdevils and Great Old Ones to empyreal lords and qlippoth lords. New animal companions and other allies, such as fierce devil monkeys and loyal clockwork hounds. New templates, including the entothrope and the mongrel giant, to help you get more life out of classic monsters. Appendices to help you find the right monster, including lists by Challenge Rating, monster type, and habitat. Expanded universal monster rules to simplify combat. Challenges for every adventure and every level of play, and MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Also there are new player races, including Monkey Goblins…

  • euansmith

    The Slithering Pit sounds great; very much an emergent monster coming from the mashing-up of existing game lore.