The Four Horsemen and Rogue Genius Games are proud to present the Talented Bestiary! After years of hard work, we’ve created a supplementary system for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game that allows anyone to quickly and easily create balanced monsters from the ground up! While rigorously play-testing the system, we’ve produced hundreds of new monsters inspired by all the Bestiary classics and are excited to share both the system and our creations with our fans!
The book and 230 monsters are already written and nearly ready to publish, but we want to see this project given the finishing touches it deserves. That means paying for beautiful original artwork, careful editing, and expanded content galore. We can’t do that without your help!
Want to know how we do it? We've created a "pay what you want" PDF that includes an example of monster creation, and five sample monsters!
Balanced monster creation can be a challenging and convoluted process for even experienced designers. In the theme of the popular Rogue Genius GamesTalented series, the Talented Bestiary presents new rules for monster construction—taking it out of the realm of guess and check, and making every monster easily customizable. The simple streamlined process allows virtually anyone to produce full monster stat-blocks completely compatible with the Pathfinder system.
The Talented Bestiary divorces creature type from basic statistics, so you can make a barbaric bloodthirsty fey as easily as an arcane spellcasting ooze. In addition, we’ve broken down every universal monster ability and unique monster ability found in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary to create an intuitive point-buy system based on challenge rating. With this system, you can quickly and easily create any monster you dream of; from Fine-size CR ½ to a Colossal-sized CR 34.
“I once read a piece of advice that completely altered how I run games. It was in a horror setting, and the idea was simple. Players are a jaded lot that have seen it all. The idea of fighting a troll isn’t scary anymore. As soon as the word troll comes out of your mouth, they roll their eyes and ask who has fire and acid handy. The same goes for hundreds of other monsters from aboleths to yeti. So, do you just throw them away and always look for the next book?
Of course not!
If you rebrand the troll, give it a different description and appearance, you can use the exact same statistics. Don’t say “troll”; say “it’s a hulking reptile monster with bloody saliva oozing from a gaping maw”. The players are now confronted with something completely new, to them. They have no idea that behind the screen you are rolling for a troll. When their weapons can’t kill the beast, they have to rediscover the troll’s weakness all over again. They get the thrill, and the fear, of the unknown. They experience the feeling they had the first time they ever fought a troll.
You could even take it a step further! Instead of fire and acid, the mysterious beast can only be killed by cold and electricity. Or as an alternative to rending with claws, it has the ability to swallow whole. Replace scent with tremorsense and it senses vibrations in the water. Throw a template on there! A red half-dragon troll is pretty terrifying. Now we have a completely new monster slapped onto the troll chassis. And the best part is, no one has to know! A monster is a tool used to tell your story. You should never feel limited by the creatures you have at your disposal or be required to scour through multiple source books to find the perfect stat-block. Antagonists should be as mutable and custom-crafted as player characters. If you don’t like something about a monster, you should be able to change it. If you have an amazing idea for a creature, it should only take a few minutes to throw something together from scratch.
The Talented Bestiary was created with these principles in mind, and we are proud of the result! We hope that this book lets you scare the pants off your players, and that no two trolls are ever the same again.” -Stephen Rowe
Instead of having base statistics determined by creature type, we have monster creation based on role (similar to player character classes). So, you can make a sneaky skilled ooze or arcane caster construct. There is one referenced table containing all base statistics (ability scores, base saves, recommended attacks, etc.) for a Medium-sized creature of any given CR.
These values are all based on the Bestiary Monster Statistics by CR table, so everything balances out with minimal book work. Then there is a second table with adjustments to those statistics if you want to alter the creature's size. We've also created a spreadsheet tool that basically does all the calculations for you!
All creature types, subtypes, universal monster rules, and Bestiary 1 unique monster abilities are broken down into a point-buy system. The higher the creature's CR, the more points they receive, and the more points they can spend on an individual ability (monsters with combat roles get better base statistics but less ability points). Each ability is modular with enhancements and flaws, so any can be custom-crafted to suit the monster. Creature types/subtypes then offer ability suites for a lump-sum cost, and also serve as prerequisites for creature-type specific abilities. - Stephen Rowe
Naturally, a system like this required a lot of playtesting… to the tune of 230 Bestiary variant monsters created by the Four Horsemen (Steven Helt, Dan Dillon, Stephen Rowe, and Tim Hitchcock) and guest designers including Victoria Jaczko, Clay Clouser, and Daniel Marshall. Each and every one of those monsters is included as a part of the Talented Bestiary!
Every single backer gets access to the google document with the book's first chapter, a summary of every monster featured in the book, and a free downloadable spreadsheet tool for making monsters lightning fast! While each of these monsters is nearly ready for publication, we are so proud of these crazy critters that we want to give them all the appropriate artwork and presentation they deserve!
The Four Horsemen are Steven T. Helt (Famine), Stephen Rowe (Pestilence), Dan Dillon (Death), and Tim Hitchcock (War). We believe in providing fun crunch and engaging fluff for players and GMs alike. We are all veterans in the industry, having produced content for Paizo, Kobold Press, and many other top names in the industry.
The Four Horsemen Presents line has produced dozens of weekly products and blog posts with our partners, Rogue Genius Games and d20pfsrd.com. The Horsemen have brought together monster creation play-testers from varied designers, like Victoria Jaczko, Clay Clouser, and Daniel Marshall.
On top of that, we've convinced the amazing BJ Hensley of Playground Adventures to act as our editor!
What does access to print on demand at cost mean?
When the book is done, you will receive a link to the print on demand copy at cost. Then you can pay DriveThruRPG roughly $19.00 + shipping to your location and they will print and ship to you directly a 400+ page Full-Color 8.5x11 beautiful hardcover copy of the book.
This means 100% of backer money goes toward creating this project, and we don't have to charge additional money upfront or increase the goal to cover the costs of printing and shipping. This project's #1 goal is to finish the book and get into your hands!
Risks and challenges
The Four Horsemen and Rogue Genius Games are no strangers to crowdfunding or publishing. Our creative team is experienced. We've produced dozens of books in the last year as well as played a part in nearly every successful Pathfinder Kickstarter project.
The primary risk for the Talented Bestiary is one of our key partners being struck by some major illness or injury that prevents them from completing editing, layout, or art in a timely manner. Fortunately, we have access to numerous individuals available for each of those categories should such an event occur.
The bulk of the writing is complete for the Talented Bestiary. It is currently in editing, and getting ready for layout. We simply want to make sure we get the best artists we can commission, to fill this book with beautiful illustrations and give YOU the best book we can!
The only outside challenge may be in gathering, developing, and editing monster text from a few backers. Backers who pledge at those levels must deliver text promptly, and it will be developed and edited as quickly as possible. We will not hold up the project due to lack of submission.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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