Thanks to judicious abuse of HarrisPolls and their $20 Amazon gift certificate rewards, my Bestiary 2 is now in the mail. (This is the third $40+ Pathfinder hardback I’ve bought for under $10 due to Amazon’s cheap pricing and gift card use, which is a godsend as an unemployed college grad. Now I have to grind through another couple hundred polls so I can afford the revised Inner Sea and Tian Xia campaign settings.)
I’m stoked by the content in this one, ever since I got a glimpse of the Gotta Kill ‘Em All! poster. Reasons why:
Daemons! Yes, yugoloths are back, only they’re probably not called that because of WotC IP. However, daemons showed up in 3.0 packed in the Tome of Horror, and were statted to 3.5 in the ToHR and City of Brass. I have a love/hate relationship with evil outsiders: while I think they’re overused as villains, particularly in the early adventure paths (the ones in Dungeon), I would kill to run a Blood Wars game. Plus, Cacodaemons look closer to how they did in Doom (glee!). Also, Planescape.
Dinosaurs! James Jacobs is a dinosaur fan, and we can probably thank him for the inclusion of more of these reptilian menaces. Again, something I rarely use, but I’ve been a dinosaur fanboy since I was a kid. Also, I’m tempted to rip them off for d20 Modern pulp games.
Dragons! Several new dragons exist on the poster, along with drakes, the umbral dragon, and the “ravener” (read: Dracolich). Plus the awesome Jabberwock. Again, not something I pull out real often—usually because my campaigns don’t get that far—but new dragons are just kinda cool.
Higher CRs! They max out with CR 23, and there are 11 over CR 20. Let’s face it, few people like higher-level games, so the material to run high-CR encounters is sparse and frequently reused. It’s nice to see some more variety in the CRs available for Pathfinder games.
More outsiders/Planar Monsters! This ties in with the above, but it’s good to see a number of new options, particularly as a Planescape/planar adventure fan. Besides the Daemons, there are Qlippoths, Inevitables are back, more demons, devils, elementals, and angels, plus Paizo introduces new groups. First are the Proteans, who’ve shown up off and on for a while now, beings of pure chaotic creation and destruction. Second are the Aeons, who are neutral creatures of balance. Lastly, Guardinals return as Agathions.
I realize not everyone will get enthused over the abundance of outsiders, but I’m stoked for a number of reasons. It’s both a refreshing new look and a throwback to Planescape. It gives more options for higher-level parties to throw down with. And, most important for me, it’s more things to populate the Planes with, with my group almost finished with Legacy of Fire and City of Brass looming on the distant horizon.
Leftovers from the SRD! Gray Render, Rast, Tendriculous, Achaierei, Azer, and a bunch more. Honestly, I’ve only missed a few of these, but it’s nice to know they’re around… and all following Bestiaries will be entirely new stuff. Well, besides conversions from…
Niche groups get some love! The original Bestiary, and 3.5 MM, short-changed a number of creature types, including fey, plants, and constructs. This has been partly rectified, though outsiders and aberrations will always fill more pages, partly because they’re what everyone uses.
Tomes of Horror and Book of Fiends! Great books, and I still use them in Pathfinder campaigns. I wish they’d do more conversions from OGL third-party stocks, but understand that a.) it can be a nightmare, logistics-wise, and b.) it might go against the feel and style Paizo is aiming for.
Stuff from other Paizo Products! Pugwumpis, Rune Giants, Lamia Matriarchs, Jabberwocks, Slurks, Chupacabra, Peryton, Redcaps, the Soul Eater, and a bunch more. Four of the Lovecraft monsters, including the Denizen of Leng, Hound of Tindalos, Gug, and Spider of Leng. While they did include some (Shoggoth, Goblin Dog) in the Bestiary, and while most of the Path material after the first Legacy of Fire module isn’t included, it’s nice to see their 3.5 creatures given the Pathfinder treatment. Still hoping for a Lovecraft Monsters Revisited or some other Chronicles book devoted to the Mythos, just to go more in-depth on them.
Real-world myth/Cryptozoology monsters! I had a phase in high school where I went overboard statting up monsters from myths and cryptozoology. Most of them sucked, but I’ve had a soft spot for them since; at this point, Paizo is doing a better job statting them up for me. Finally, I have d20-based stats for Scylla and Charybdis… yet I’m more likely to use the Peryton or Chupacabra. (In fact, I have.)