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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Templates and you

    So, Pathfinder is a thing.

    It includes a moderate array of templates, which are conveniently listed in the pfsrd. Therefore, they should be put to use!

    For reasons of time and sanity, I'll focus on the more official seeming ones - noting that old templates are sometimes very odd.

    Ahem. A bit of organization, shall we?

    Why use templates?

    If you're the GM, it's a way to make a monster somewhat different, or to explain why generic evil wizard #345 has suddenly grown more dangerous and acquired even more power.

    If you're a player, Pathfinder states that you get a refund of half your CR over the course of leveling up (as long as you take your CR early enough), so sometimes it can be very profitable to pick up some extra power here or there. Since the rules do not specify what happens with odd CR values, this either means that everyone should get a +1 CR template by level 17, or that you need to stack templates to get an even number when you get a chance.

    Hows and whats of rating

    Templates are officially rated for the GM (it's their CR value), representing how much of a challenge is posed by the templated creature. For the most part, I'll leave this alone, though extreme outliers (good or bad) will be mentioned.

    Overall, templates will be rated for players instead, using the following (traditional) color scheme:

    Red templates are things you never want to take.

    Orange templates are bad, but might be interesting under special circumstances

    Green templates are basically average, worth their 'half level' per CR rating

    Blue templates are actively good, and worth picking up

    Purple templates go into the gloriously broken domain and make one wonder why anyone goes without

    Since templates actively cost you levels, and character concepts vary, they'll have a note indicating who they are best for - and possibly a note showing specific builds for which they wildly diverge from the basic color.

    Stacking templates becomes expensive in terms of levels, so it's not something you want to do too much if you're a spellcaster - melee and skill types may find it worthwhile, though.

    Templates will be listed in order of CR, to keep similar options close together.

    Stacking Templates and Other Conundrums

    Pathfinder has an incredible number of templates that turn you undead. Aside from those, there are a lot that can be legally mixed and merged in more or less strange ways - ending with becoming undead if that suits you.

    Specific combinations and opportunities will be called out where I notice them.

    One particular problem is that (like 3.5), there is no template for "Awakened Animal" (or "Awakened Plant"), so druidic shenanigans with Maximize and Empower can yield odd results with no CR increase. This is interesting for casters, as a whole.

    There are templates with negative CR, opening up more options at a cost of no levels, or even granting bonus levels, perhaps? This is the stuff dangerous spellcasters are made of, as a rule.


    Next, Low CR templates!
    Last edited by meschlum; 2014-05-31 at 01:31 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Templates and you

    CR -2 Templates

    Pod Spawned You gain the plant type and lose all your magical abilities, plus a penalty to Charisma. Never take this, and encourage your GM to create CR 18 Pod-spawned Wizard 20s for you to fight.

    CR -1 Templates

    Young (defensive) This has the advantage of being a CR -1 template, so it does something strange to your levels. In practical terms, it gives you a pile of AC via Dex bonus and Size decrease, and makes you worse at combat and more fragile with a large penalty to Constitution. Losing 4 Con is bad news, but can be mitigated in a number of ways.

    The template increases to Green or even more if you work with stacking templates: an Advanced, Young creature has Size bonuses to AC and to-hit, +8 Dex, and +4 to all mental stats for a CR of +0. Another interesting combination is with anything that turns you undead, as the loss of Con becomes meaningless while the boosted defenses help. Good for casters, poor for melee.

    Pod Spawned (non-casters) Gain Plant traits if you start out with no magical abilities to lose. This is actually beneficial, as you pick up immunity to mind effects and the like, for -4 Cha and -1 CR which you can invest in becoming a better meatshield. The forced alignment change may be an issue as well.

    CR 0 Templates

    Bestial +1 natural armor, +2 Con and three low damage primary attacks would make this tempting for unarmed melee types, except you're taking Int and Cha damage daily, with the potential to be permanently stuck. It's possibly Orange in a higher level party, where the application of two daily Restoration spells should keep the drain under control - combined with Pounce and high strength, it could make for something that isn't completely bad. Applied to humanoids only, does not change type.

    Celestial a pile of minor resistances, low spell resistance, darkvision and smite evil. For free. Yes, please! This only applies to the version at 1-4 HD, when it costs nothing and gives you bonuses. Higher levels attach CR costs to the defensive gains, and are less interesting (this is why the template isn't Purple. Somehow fails to change type, and is applicable to anything.

    Clockwork Construct only applies to constructs, adds +4 Initiative, +2 Reflex Saves, +2 Dodge AC for electricity vulnerability and needing to be rewound. If you are a PC construct, you probably joined for the piles of immunities, and immunity to electricity isn't that much more effort to pick up.

    Counterpoised see Celestial.

    Colour-Blighted +1 to hit and damage in exchange for having Cha 1 and a lifespan of 20 days maximum (you'll roll a 1 on the Fort save eventually)? No thanks. For a GM, this is a free boost to melee ability and allows strange baest matchups, so it's possibly interesting. Until the players figure out how to do 1 Cha damage and win.

    Entropic see Celestial. Fewer resistances, but includes resistance to Fire which is a common atack form.

    Fiendish see Celestial. Fewer resistances, but includes resistance to Fire which is a common atack form.

    Pod Spawned You are an NPC or a monster, and you just gained plant immunities. It's nice, but it's more of a GM tool (in which case it can be very nice or largely pointless).

    Resolute see Celestial. Three resistances including resistance to Fire makes this one of the better options.

    Terror (evil) Aura of terror with a poor DC, immunity to fear, darkvision, and healing from negative energy. What's not to like? The necessity of being NE can be a problem in many parties (making it Red), but otherwise it's free power.

    Unhallowed Free bonuses for undead in the area of an Unhallow spell. Of course we're interested!

    CR +1 Templates

    There are a lot of these. Please be patient.

    Advanced +4 to all attributes is very good. It's a bit flavorless, but if you're getting a free +1 CR (or are a spellcaster and combine this with Young), it's basically a reference for deciding whether the template is worth it or not. On the purely numeric front (for non-casters), trading this for one level means 38 more hp at level 20 (better than a level at levels 11+ or even earlier), +2 to all saves (better than a level), +2 to hit (better than +1 BAB), +2 to melee damage, and +2 to AC and Initiative. Take it! Casters lose a caster level, but get all the other bonuses, at least two bonus spells (at high levels), and +2 to DCs - a very tempting capstone.

    Alchemically Quickened (mobile combat) Extra move and a Blur effect is nice, but it locks you into a combat style which usually involves making few attacks, since you need to move. It's good up to level 5, when iterative attacks don't happen, and then deteriorates quickly. High level monsters with True Seeing make this an especially poor choice.

    Boreal Creature (unarmed melee) grants somewhat more melee damage if unarmed than Advanced, though the majority is cold damage (and resistances exist). Minor skill bonuses in snow and Trackless step make this useful in cold environments. The cold subtype is the make or break feature of the template: immunity to cold is nice, but being saddled with vulnerability to fire (and fire being common) is bad news. Can be over or underpowered based on opponents, and relying on stupid opponents isn't a good idea.

    Celestial slightly better resistances and DR 5 / evil are nice, but begin to pale at this point. Casters can provide resistance (at the cost of spells, true), and DR 5 isn't all that impressive. Casters should avoid it, and others gain limited benefits - high level evil foes bypass the DR, after all.

    Counterpoised see Celestial. DR / adamantine is more versatile, but still probably not worth a level.

    Crystal Creature (melee) Boosts to melee stats and a penalty to intelligence make this Orange at best for casters (and worse for Int based casters). Non casters get decent defensive bonuses, resistance 10 to everything but sonic (which is rare in Pathfinder), and DR 5/- Definitely superior to Celestial and its kin on those merits alone, you get extra imunities and an aura causing minor penalties or blindness. Obtaining the Earth subtype is a challenge, but it's quite tempting.

    Demonic Vermin (chaotic evil vermin) And extremely specialized case, this takes a basic vermin creature and upgrades it signfiicantly. Vermin PCs are difficult to pull off, but with this template (and a suitably aligned party), you get a pile of resistances and immunities, Int 10 (so you're not a caster), minor casting abilities, and a special power. Abyssal Energy grants more energy immunity, and gives you a breath weapon that does (level) d6 damage every 1-4 rounds - which is comparable to what dragons get.

    Devilbound (defensive) +2 to three attributes isn't that interesting, but Regeneration 5 and solid fire resistance make up for it. The summons are fairly consistently 4 below your CR or so, which isn't bad for a summoning spell (and the duration is quite satisfactory). The spellcasting abilities gained are potentially unbalancing, as you're stuck with them from level 5 to level 20 and they remain static. So they could start out too good and finish pointless, or be of limited value all the way. In all, probably closer to Green than the rating suggests, but Regeneration is a big one.

    Ectoplasmic Creature this removes all your levels and sets you Int to -. Avoid at all costs. It also makes you undead, which tends to end your ability to acquire new templates, so that's even more cause to avoid it. Even from the GM perspective, this does not deserve the +1 CR unless applied to melee brutes, as anything but melee ability is lost. If you can convince your GM to let you fight a CR 20+ Ectoplasmic creature, just get flight and gain all the levels you want.

    Entropic see Celestial.

    Fiendish see Celestial.

    Fey Animal This lets you play as an animal, which is a plus if you want to do so (and isn't something granted by Advanced). Spell resistance, cold iron DR, darkvision, increased speed, and +4 to Dex and Charisma open up some career options. The acquired spellcasting ability progresses nicely with level (flight at 4 HD, thematic spells with charm, polymorph, and summons gained) and a pile of skills gives a solid base to build on. Melee is not excessively favored, nor is int based casting, but Dex and Cha careers are quite promising - try for a low CR animal as a spellcaster, and get extra abilities for a 1 level delay to casting. The bonus to wisdom (a rare thing in templates) means Cleric or Druid could be contemplated too. Lack of hands is an issue for most animals, though.

    Fey Creature (caster, archer) Minor energy resistances, low light vision, and cold iron DR are the base package. Gaining flight is a nice benefit and probably makes the template at the relevant levels. You gain spell like abilities with decent utility, +4 to Dex, +2 to Int and Cha. -2 Strength discourages melee, though. The other key feature of the template are the special powers, which are all over the place. Long Step is crazy good (unlimited short range teleport as a move action? Yes, please!), Spell Resistance and Evasion are nice defensive abilities, the rest is fairly boring or specialized. Gives a fair amount of horizontal options as opposed to the vertical power boost from Advanced. It tends towards Green for spellcasters at higher levels (and does it faster for divine casters), as set bonus spells based off Cha are less useful than bonus spells and DC. Also note that it can be applied to any living being, including fey. So you could have Fey Fey Fey Fey whatever. Or Fey Fey Cats.

    Fleshwarped +4 to one attribute for -4 to two others is terrible. Gaining a special quality or your CR might make up for it, but that means you have to take the template as late as possible so you don't end up saddled with a minor power, horrible stats, and one level behind the party. Given the sample powers, it's unlikely to end well in any case. A rare template that can be added to undead, for what that's worth.

    Foo (melee, sneak) another way to convert an animal into a PC. The bonus to Int is distressing (Int 5-6 isn't good news), the other attribute bonuses are minor, and the special abilities are nothing to write home about (you gain hardness 8 a few times a day, and have DR, and the interaction between the two is not specified). Protection from Evil when you have others like you nearby is nice, but it's easy to get as a potion in the first place. Hands are good.

    Imperial Foo creatures are weird. You can probably manage to get a level 10 sorcerer at CR 11 (no bloodlines) with extremely awesome attributes (+6 to all on top of Foo base bonuses, Int at least 20), plus good hit dice and some DR and minor bonuses. This makes them Purple for that specific build (take Sorcerer levels or a prestige class afterward), especially since a CR 11 creature gets 3 level discounts (at levels 14, 17, and 20), so you can pick up 12 levels of Sorcerer and be casting like a Sorcerer 22 at level 20 - with weaker bloodline abilities, granted, but superior attributes and base stats.

    Frostfallen See Ectoplasmic, with slightly different abilities. This is not a CR+1 template, it's a different way to build zombies and skeletons. Also, cold themed. Better than Boreal for the same effect, insofar as you're looking for a pile of hp that does cold damage.

    Fungal (melee) you lose all your memories and abilities on gaining this template. See Frostfallen and Ectoplasmic for why this is a bad thing, though you become a plant instead. Assuming this happens to you at character creation, bump this to Green as you get some relevant stat boosts (for melee) and plant immunities, which covers you for a lot of will saves. Losing speed is a problem, though you could contemplate this as a spellcaster - the immunities might make up for being easy to hit an slow to get out of range... Nah.

    Fungoid a hack on the Fungal template, with no attribute modifiers, full plant immunities, and telepathy with other Fungoid beings. Easier to get, no disadvantages, probably not worth a caster level but might be worth it to people with poor will saves.

    Giant (melee) Large size, +8 to Strength and +4 to Con, +2 to natural armor, for -2 to Dex? Sign me up if I'm a brute type! Extra hilarity ensues if you combine this with Young, in which case the order in which the templates are applied is critical. If you become Giant first, you get a boost to Con that balances the Young penalty (for +4 Strength, +2 Dex and 0 CR). If you're Young first, it doesn't work as well (+2 Dex and -2 Con for 0 CR, which says something about elves, I suppose). Do not use the stacking trick if your initial size is Small - the Con penalty will hurt. Essentially, a melee focused variant on Advanced - works well with anything else that boosts size.

    Gnarled Worse than Giant in every way. Also worse than Advanced in every way (+3 natural armor AC -1 from Dex penalty versus +2 from Dex is the only 'comparable' point). Avoid like the plague. Ferocity is like having Con extra hit points, so you are marginally more durable, but it's not worth it.

    Half-Celestial Gives almost as good attribute boosts as Advanced (+4 to three stats, +2 to the others), adds a pile of resistances, solid spell resistance, flight, and useful spellcasting. DR / magic is decent at levels 1-5, so this is very nice. The spells are useful overall, and work well with the required good alignment.

    Half-Fiend See Half-Celestial, except the spellcasting options are not as valuable. Desecrate is good for necromancers only, and Darkness works est if you can see in the dark. Still excellent.

    Haunted One (lore focused caster) The attribute bonuses are less than what's granted by Advanced (though +4 Con is tasty), but a lore focused caster will benefit from increased mental attributes anyway, and the ability to cast Vision as well as get +20 to Knowledge checks. Having proficiency in all knowledge skills is another +3 where relevant, so it's nice to acquire. Having to deal with a problematic spirit, and alignment issues, can lower the template's value - it is mainly useful for specialized builds anyway.

    Juju Zombie Become undead, retain your mind, and gain a pile of immunities. Losing Con and lacking a bonus to Charisma make this a problem for most melee types, and casters are sacrificing a level for defensive ability and vulnerability to being turned. In all, it can be useful on a build that has already focused on melee and charisma, or for immunities, but it's rather costly.

    Lamia Harridan This is an extremely specialized template. It requires 10 levels of a divine caster class on top of being a lamia, so you're looking at it around level 14+ (CR 6 for Lamia, 8 'normal' levels of divine caster, 2 'refunded' levels of divine caster). The attribute boosts are better than Advanced for melee (and size gain helps), but worse for mental stats (+2 to Wis and Cha). Gaining spell resistance is nice, DR / magic is pointless at these levels, boosted caster level on spell-likes and increased wisdom drain might balance out the lower stats. You are already 4 levels behind a pure caster, so it's an iffy proposition in any case.

    Lycanthrope (melee) This template, unlike most things in Pathfinder, allows you to overwrite your ability scores. So you find an animal close to your size (check out Giant) and you can focus on a single physical attribute (say Dex) while the rest is taken care of. It's also an option for Wisdom based melee casters, since there is a bonus to Wis on top of the physical boosts. DR / silver is a nice bonus, but this is a chance to build a nightmarish creature on one side (Advanced Dire Giant whatever) and profit.

    Mana Wasted Mutant (melee) Spell resistance and cold iron DR are nice, as is the ability to pick up minor acid resistance and a weak breath weapon at higher levels. This gives a melee type more options, but the attribute modifiers are underwhelming and the random mutation can seriously mess up a build. Would be Orange but for the value of spell resistance and the breath weapon option.

    Mummified Creature (melee) Undead with energy vulnerability, lost Con bonus to hit points (Toughness doesn't compensate), and an Int penalty. Worse than a Juju zombie in almost every respect.

    Nightmare Creature (int, cha, stealth) Dex and Cha get +4, regeneration, decent DR, illusion resistance and limited flgiht abilities are all nice. Then there are the fear powers and spell-likes, which are decent and allow remote killing of opponents. On reaching 11 HD, Nightmare Lords become terrifying illusionists, with a +4 DC to phantasm and shadow spells, improved spell-like abilities (though Shadow Evocation and Conjuration cap out quickly due to limits on the level of copied spells), even better attribute bonuses, and the ability to remotely Dominate most foes. Very impressive.

    Ogrekin (melee) Attribute boosts that are somewhat less than Giant (and worse than Advanced), plus Low Light vision and random advantages and disadvantages. Best case, it's Giant without the size increase and with mental penalties. Worst case, it's much worse. The random factor gives the extra downward push, though an added source of good physical stats could help to replace empty melee levels.

    Penanggalen Undead, attribute boosts that almost match Advanced (+2 to Int and Wis, +4 elsewhere with +6 Strength), fast healing, minor resistances and a pile of attribute damage abilities. Plus the ability to register as a normal being - in all, quite good. The presence of weaknesses makes this less than Purple, but it's a close call.

    Plagued Beast Turns an Int 1-2 creature undead, where no templates will allow player level Int. Skip. Another one to apply to your necromatic pets, possibly - it's overall worse than Juju Zombie anyway, unless you really value demonplague.

    Resolute see Celestial.

    Runescarred (group melee) This would be Red, as all it grants is an AC bonus which is implicit in Advanced, but for the Runespark ability. This does negligible damage, but it Dazes an opponent for 1 round, using a ranged touch attack to connect and no save. So it's going to hit. If you have at least 5 creatuers total with the template, you can essentially Daze-lock an opponent for 15 rounds, which is plenty of time to finish him off. If you don't use this trick (and the trick is allowed!), or face opponents with high touch AC, the template is worthless.

    Runeslave (melee) Poor attribute boosts compared to Advanced, some minor special resistances and speed boosts could make this Orange, but for the fact that you have a finite lifespan and no way of preventing it. By the time you have access to wishes, you almost certainly don't want the template, so it's never useful (and it's hard to get, as it requires the Giant subtype).

    Shadow Creature see Celestial, but with worse DR at high levels (as soon as magic weapons turn up) and an always on defensive ability instead of smite.

    Skeletal Champion (prestige class and combat) appears to allow you to retain your mind when becoming a skeleton (otherwise it's Red). It is worse than Juju Zombie in attributes and resistances, and has a different DR. Its redeeming feature is that it gives you 3 undead HD for the price of +2 CR (1 CR from being a 3HD skeleton, +1 for the template) - that's a pile of bonus skills, saves, and hit points, plus an extra feat. With CR refunds, it costs 1 level at level 5+, and could therefore be interesting in a feat starved build or for casters who want to get into melee, or for Arcane Archers who want to join the class early.

    Trench Zombie a superior variant of the Juju Zombie, as it gains immunity to Acid instead of magic missiles. Being dependent on a Trench Mist (and controlled by same) is probably an issue, but this is probably the best CR +1 undead templates for energy immunities.

    Zombie Lord (prestige class and combat) is Skeletal Champion for Zombies, granting 4 hit dice for CR +2. That's a lot of BAB (+3), skills (16 + 4 * Int mod), and hit points (22 + 4 * Cha mod at least thanks to Toughness and four 1d8 HD) as well as two bonus feats, +1/+1/+4 saves and Toughness. It costs one level at level 5+, and is therefore extremely desireable for combat types (BAB, skills, and Will saves, bonus Str and Dex on top of all the rest). The BAB bonus and bonus feats can make it useful for unsual builds, and 4 extra hit dice mean that skill point requirements can be met more easily. Better than Skeletal Champion in pure numbers (extra half feat, extra BAB, extra skills...), but lacks any form of energy immunity.
    Last edited by meschlum; 2015-01-31 at 01:39 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default High CR Templates

    CR +2 Templates

    At this level, evaluating templates becomes more difficult, since on one hand they are more expensive to pick up and on the other hand they need to compare favorably to what you'd get by combining lower tier templates. Overall, these are rarely worth taking unless you value specific unique powers they grant.

    Alchemically Invisible Invisibility is something you can pick up fairly easily, between spells and magic items. At low levels, being invisible is nice, but you'll spend a lot of your tie confused, possibly damaging yourself, and generally failing to contribute to combat. at medium levels, you can get invisibility without the risk of confusion, and you just sacrificed two levels (or one after gaining three more) for it. At high levels, you still risk a natural one, and many opponents have True Seeing and the like.

    Animal Lord (melee) This template essentially grants you the benefits of being an Advanced Lycanthrope, with a few extra bonuses (such as not needing to go about in hybrid or animal shape, so you get to use hands all the time). It is therefore excellent for melee types, and can even be somewhat beneficial for casters who have levels to spare, as many animals have a better than average Wis and Cha. Remember that you animal base could be an Advanced creature, for some rather impressive attribute bonus stacking.

    Blighted Fey (melee) You get a pile of minor defenses, spell resistance, and Fast Healing 5, plus boosts to melee stats, the latter of which is something that fey usually don't try. An Advanced Fey Creature is pretty much always better, absent the conditional Fast Healing. To fit the theme, try an Advanced Juju Zombie and enjoy everything but the Fast Healing. May be useful if you want to play a dryad and still retain some mobility.

    Dream Eater Immunity to mind affecting is the big part, which you can get otherwise (such as by being undead). The attribute bonuses are comparable to Advanced or a bit worse, with a focus on melee, and Psychic Assault is almost unuseable as you have a low capacity (19 at level 20), charging is difficult, and the ability is expensive to use. If you have a battery of dreamers to devour between fights, you do get the ability to stun an opponent once or twice per fight, with a saving throw... Too complicated to be worthwhile - or maybe a twisted alternative to an advanced Runescarred character? Plus, always Chaotic Evil tends to exclude this even more.

    Fey Creature At higher hit dice, the attribute bonuses are no longer that impressive, the resistances aren't worth much, and you have all the interesting special abilities already. The spell-like abilities are definitely less interesting at this point, as they are all mind affecting and allow saves. Irresistible Dance isn't, and Scintillating Pattern is useful against PCs (who tend to have 20 or fewer HD) but largely worthless against monsters (who have a lot more). Still possibly tempting for Evasion, short range teleport, and spell resistance, but a caster would be perfectly justified in preferring two caster levels (or one and +2 to all DCs plus bonus spells via Advanced). Possibly interesting for someone stealthy, as extra Dex and teleport are good.

    Forsaken Lich Lifespan of 1-10 days. Pass. Otherwise, the need to blast things every round would still not be conducive to party unity. Possible GM tool to illustrate the value of non-casters, as it has spell turning.

    Gallowdead (melee) Horribly documented in the pfsrd. Apparently, you gain undefined attribute bonuses boosting your abilities with unspecified saving throw calculation mechanics, possibly picking up skeleton immunities except maybe not. The ability to cause 12d6 negative energy damage on your first hit each round is incerdibly good as a CR 3 fighter, but it's probably not the intended result. The rating is given because you can likely get something decent, melee-wise, if you back engineer all the specifics. Otherwise, rating is Purple if you're tossing DC 27 abilities about at level 3, and Red if you're nerfed to the point of uselessness.

    Ghost (Cha caster, sneak) Immortality, almost at-will telekinesis, at-will Magic Jar, immaterial, and a plethora of useful abilities available. Having neither Strength nor Con means a much nicer point buy, but limits your ability to contribute somewhat. Getting equipment is an issue as well. The special powers are the selling point, really.

    Graveknight Immortality, immunity to three energy types, bonus feats, boosts to melee, ride, and a few uses of a breath weapon equivalent. Somewhat worse than an Advanced Juju Zombie in terms of attributes, but the extra powers and energy immunity are probably worth it. Much better than a Lich if you're a Wis or Cha based caster, as you get a better attribute boost!

    Half-Celestial Higher HD mean better DR and a continued progression of useful spells. Not as impressive as earlier, since you're now at a level where flight is more available, and losing two levels is likely to cost you more levels than the bonus spellcasting is worth in terms of number of spells. If you're a caster, being Advanced and having an extra level probably gives you more options.

    Half Dragon (melee) Comparable to a Giant Advanced creature in terms of melee attributes (albeit with less Dex and damage potential), gaining flight, immunity to one type of energy, and a 1/day breath weapon are probably a bit better. In a high level party that can give you flight and protection, you'll rate this lower than being able to inflict massive damage and have better Will and Reflex saves.

    Half-Fiend Somewhat worse than Half-Celestial as the spell selection isn't as good.

    Half Janni Only works on humans, worse attribute bonuses than Advanced, minor spellcasting ability that is never impressive at the levels it involves, low speed flight. An Advanced Nightmare Creature has better spellcasting, better attributes, and regeneration. Might be useful in niche cases, but probably not worth it.

    Haunted Construct Not useable on PCs, as it seems to depend on being bound to a wizard's spirit. As a GM template, it is abominable since it allows a low CR construct to toss meteor swarms at CL 20 about. Presumably, this is a template applied to a specific construct, and not something that can be generalized.

    Lich Immunity to two energy types, immortality, decent DR. Attribute bonuses are worse than Advanced (or Graveknight), and an Advanced Juju Zombie is better on all fronts except for immortality. Could be rated a poor Blue, especially for Int based casters who really want to be immortal and don't want to deal with armor issues.

    Nosferatu (Wis Caster) Undead, underwhelming DR and resistances are the low points. You get telekinesis at will and immortality, meaning the tastiest bits of Ghost without the issues linked to gear (and fewer special tricks, true). A pile of bonus feats that can help with prestige classes (two Skill Focuses) are gravy - and unlike vampires who are forced in gaseous form and thus harmless once reduced to 0 hit points, you can swarm your foes for a good long while of being immune to damage. The telekinesis at will and immortality are probably why you should consider the template rather than Advanced Penanggalen (which gets better Cha and attributes besides a tie on Wis, the same fast healing and a comparable mixture of minor resistances). Whether it's worth two caster levels is up to you.

    Ravener Requires being an Ancient Dragon to begin with, which isn't happening to PCs (final CR are in the 18+ range). For a GM, it's in the Green range. Slightly better melee (deflection bonus, better crit range, similar or worse hit points due to dropping to d8s and Cha being a wash (lower base than Con, template bonus)) and the ability to toss around negative energy which high level parties will prepare for. You do get improved spellcasting, but you cast off a pool equal to your hit dice - so you'll get 2-3 high level spells out but are worse overall than you were before. In all, Advanced gives similar attribute bonuses, and Juju Zombie adds immunity to a pile of energy types, which is something you care about.

    Shadow Lord Is effectively a +3 CR template, as it requires the base creature be a Shadow Creature (CR +1). The resistances are underwhelming, the DR is for magic and so pointless, the deflection bonus applies while moving so it's useful against AoO and that's all, the spell like abilities begin to manifest at CR 8 (5 HD base, +3 from templates) where they are good but not overwhelming, and then go down from there. A Nightmare Creature gets more thematic powers and somewhat better attributes for CR +1 - and given how much Pathfinder loves CR +2 undead templates, you can fill in the blanks that way. Sort of noticeable for having a travel version of Gate at 11 HD (Nightmare creatures get Plane Shift instead, so it's a wash).

    Shield Guardian A construct template, suffering from the difficulty of having a construct PC. If you can get past that, or are the GM, the template gives fast healing and useful protective abilities, plus extra minor spellcasting if you now a spellcaster. It's quite expensive overall, but a caster with many of these nearby is essentially immune to hit point damage and has a battery of low level spells on hand. If you can afford it, add this to a horde of minor constructs so as to have essentially unlimited 1-4 level spell slots (which you need to recharge during your off time). This is insanely costly, though. The pfsrd does not state the source, so I'll assume it's legit.

    Siabrae Druid lich equivalent, with worse resistances (immunity to fire only), partial immortality (requires a save or special environment), comparable melee attack (petrify instead of paralyze. Big whoop), lose animal companion and ability to fly (the latter is bad), gain earthglide. Only a +2 Wis bonus, so pick up a suit or dragonscale plate and be a Graveknight instead. Possibly interesting if your level 11+ druid wants to change domains, or if you're spending most of the campaign unerground, where the ability to move through rock at will is incredibly good.

    Vampire (melee, Cha caster) Similar to the Nosferatu, except with feats and attributes more focused on melee (plus energy drain). Slightly better DR and more time available in gaseous form when dropped to 0 hp than is granted to a Nosferatu, so it's a matter of focus. Not having telekinesis makes this borderline Green, but it does give immortality and melee ability.

    Vampire, Jiang-shi (Unarmed melee, Wis caster) Weaker immortality than other vampires (stay put, die if your dust is scattered), special powers rely on grapple rather than just hitting, immunity to scrolls and wands. In all, a step down in terms of power, possibly interesting due to special skills.

    Vampire, Vetala (Int or Cha caster) Weak immortality, magic jar at will and the ability to animate corpses. The weak immortality would rate this down (your body remains in place, and opponents have an hour to consecrate and bury it), but you can just disintegrate your body so there is nothing left to bury... Also, thanks to taking over spare bodies, you're never going to be in melee personally. So this is a superior version of the Lich, without the energy immunities. It's a weak Blue, but should still qualify.

    Worm that Walks (melee) Attribute bonuses that are worse than Advanced and abilities that are focused on melee, including fast healing and solid DR. Sadly, you need to be a spellcaster to get the template, and you don't get any bonuses to your spellcasting ability. Should generally be avoided by full casters, but it could be nice on an antipaladin or some such. Weirdly enough, you are immune to being hit by a Spiritual Weapon, but not to being hit by the same weapon in the hands of an opponent (since one is a single target spell, which you're immune to, and the other is a weapon attack, which are aren't though you have DR). For entertainment value, make sure to become a Demonic Vermin afterward, wit Abyssal Energy. Innocently ask whether each worm in your swarm now has a 4 or more d6 breath weapon...

    CR +3 Templates

    Half-Celestial Minor resistances, a CR of 3 to deal with at the point where flight is common and caster levels are precious? Pass unless you really have a very specific build you're working towards. This does have the distinction of being one of the few templates priced at CR 2 or more that does not require its user to be evil.

    Half-Fiend The spell like selection is worse than for Half-Celestial, the issues are the same. Basically, regret you took the template if you get to this level. Might be useful for a necromancer as you gain the ability to cast Unhallow and Desecrate, but three levels are a bit expensive for that functionality.

    Mummy, Dust Just as bad as the CR +1 Mummy, so take Juju Zombie and move on.

    CR +More Templates

    None exist in official Pathfinder products, from the pfsrd.
    Last edited by meschlum; 2015-01-30 at 04:00 AM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Putting it all together

    Because playing with skeletons and zombies is boring.

    Attributes and Templates

    This is where we discuss ways to get high attributes as cheaply as possible. Options for CR 0 to +3 will be reviewed.

    Lycanthropes (and Animal Lords) are a special case that will not be discussed here - it's possible to get much more if you take that option (a Tiger has Strength 23, so a weretiger gets Strength 25 in Hybrid and Animal forms, no matter what its humanoid form attributes are - for +1 CR if the humanoid form is high enough level).


    Strength

    Strength is fairly easy to boost if you have some CR to spend.

    CR 0: there are no CR 0 templates that boost strength, barring CR 1 templates combined with Pod Spawned, which is NPC territory.

    CR 1: Giant gives the most, with +8 Strength and a size increase. Penanggalen grants +6. Advanced is there for +4.

    CR 2: Nothing matches a Giant Penanggalen (+14 Strength, costs 1 level if you take it before the end of the game). Half-Dragon is +8, which is the most you'll get from 'native' +2 CR templates. If you're avoiding undead templates, Giant Adanced gives you +12.

    CR 3: Mix in Advanced for a net +18 to Strength. If you're avoiding undead templates, a Giant Half-Dragon gives you +16 instead.


    Dexterity

    Dexterity is pretty cheap at first, but you need to be evil to get to the summit (undeath helps too, if you have CR to burn).

    CR -1: Young gives you a +4 to Dexterity, and the -1 CR mixes very well with everything else.

    CR 0: An Advanced Young creature gets +8 dexterity and no attribute penalties, plus a size decrease. Highly recommended for anything that isn't melee. At high hit dice, a Young Nightmare Creature gets +10 Dex, but it's somewhat niche in terms of power and alignment (and the Con penalty from Young hurts). Fey creatures also get +4 Dex, so it's another way to get +8 total.

    CR 1: +12, from Young Advanced Fey creatures at low hit dice. Or +14 from high hit dice Young Advanced Nightmare creatures. A Young Jiang-Shi Vampire is +10.

    CR 2: +16, combining all the above (low hit dice Nightmare creature so Fey is +1 CR). If you're non evil, there aren't that many options, but high hit dice Young Advanced Fey are here with +12.

    CR 3: high hit dice evil gives you +18 (+2 CR from Fey creature), or take a Young Advanced Nightmare Jiang-Shi for +20 at high hit dice.


    Constitution

    Finally something that isn't improved by being undead, mostly because being undead makes it invalid. Coincidentally, it's hard to get very high.

    CR 0: there are no CR 0 templates that boost Constitution. Play a dwarf instead.

    CR 1: Giant and Advanced both grant +4, as does Haunted One.

    CR 2: Combine two of the above to get a +8. Or Half-Dragon for +6.

    CR 3: Ogrekin grants another +4 (+12 total), but it's a poor template. Consider a Giant or Advanced Half-Dragon instead, for +10. A Giant Advanced Haunted One grants +12, with some risk if you don't follow your guide's instructions.


    Intelligence

    A number of boosts exist, usually not very strong ones. Intelligence appears to be an attribute that's expensive to increase, but can be boosted in many ways. Getting more than +4 without a high cost is difficult. Aside from Advanced and a few special cases, the overall notion appears to be that 1 Int = 1 CR, which is impressively low compared to other attributes. Evil and undead creatures can get a better ratio with careful picking.

    CR 0: Nothing a GM would usually allow is open, but you can get good results with a Young Advanced creature for +4 Int and a size decrease.

    CR 1: This is where Advanced is a legitimate option, with +4. High HD Nightmare Creatures and low HD Half-Celestial or Half-Fiends can also give as much, though the last two cost more CR as you gain levels. Other options grant +2 Int instead - so if you're really pushing things, you can get +8 Int with a Young Advanced Nightmare Creature at high levels, or +6 if it's Fey or a Penanggalen instead.

    CR 2: Advanced Nightmare Creature gives you +6 to +8. If Young is mixed in, you can get another +2 from a variety of templates (Fey, Haunted One, Penanggalen...). At low hit dice, and Advanced Half-Celestial (or Half-Fiend) gets +8, so it's the starting equivalent to Advanced Nightmare Creature. If you are non evil and non undead, Advanced Fey for +6 at low hit dice is as good as it gets. A Vetala Vampire gets +4 Int, but that's a tie with Advanced.

    CR 3: If you're evil, an Advanced Haunted One Nightmare Creature gets you +10 at high hit dice. You can get +8 via Advanced Vetala Vampire or Advanced Haunted One Penanggalen. Advanced Half-Celestials and Half-Fiends have +8 at intermediate hit dice as well, otherwise you're down to +6 with Advanced Fey, Advanced Half-Janni, or Advanced Half-Dragon. The Advanced undead horde gets +6 with Liches, Vampires, and so forth.


    Wisdom

    Wisdom is another attribute that has trouble rising, but is more undead friendly than Intelligence (and thus, also evil-friendly). If you want to avoid lycanthropy and evil urges, you'll be Advanced and like it, or invest 3 CR into being an Advanced Half-Janni. Or Half-Celestial, and experience a variable CR from +2 to +4.

    CR 0: Young shenanigans apply here again.

    CR 1: Advanced is the top of the pile, as usual, with +4. Honorable mention goes to Haunted One, Lycanthrope, and Penanggalen, as they have a Wis bonus at all (only +2, though). Half-Celestial and Half-Fiend are options for +4, but they go up in CR rather quickly.

    CR 2: Combine Advanced with one of the above, and get a +6. Or be a Nosferatu and get that inherently. In theory, an Advanced Half-Celestial or Half-Fiend has +8, but that's up to 5 hit dice, and yu already have 2 CR... Half-Janni gives +4 and does not require evil.

    CR 3: Advanced Nosferatu gives you +10, other mixes grant +8. If you're satisfied with the latter, you have lots of Advanced Undead options, none of which are Liches. Advanced Graveknights would be the standard instead. An Advanced Half-Janni is +8 and lets you stay alive.


    Charisma

    The attribute that most templates boost or penalize, Charisma is relatively easy to enhance - especially for undead, who use it instead of Constitution and therefore are usually very good looking.

    CR 0: More Young shenanigans.

    CR 1: Advanced is +4, high HD Nightmare Creatures are +6, Penanggalen is +4, Fey Creature is +2 if you're not evil. Usual Half-Celestial and Half-Fiend disclaimers apply, with +4 at low hit dice.

    CR 2: You can get +8 by being evil or undead and combining the +1 templates, or +6 if you're an Advanced low hit die Fey. A Vetala Vampire gets +6 and extra powers on top. Half-Jann gives +4 without requiring evil.

    CR 3: +14 with a high hit die Advanced Nightmare Penanggalen. +8 for Advanced Half-Janni if you're on the side of the breathing, +12 for a high hit die Nightmare Vetala. Many other +2 CR undead give you +4, so th forces of darkness can get +8 easily, and +10 if they side with Nightmares.


    Multiple Attributes

    Some classes and combinations work best when more than one attribute is boosted. The following templates support this.

    Advanced: +4 to everything, for +1 CR. Marvelous.

    Penanggalen: undead (so no Con), +6 Strength, +4 Dex and Cha, +2 to Int and Wis. For those who care a bit more about Strength than Int and Wis.

    Nightmare Creature: +6 to Dex and Cha, +4 to Int at high levels (+4 and +2 otherwise). Another useful +1 CR template for the relevant attbiutes.

    Giant: +8 Strength and +4 Con, but -2 Dex and no mental bonuses. Still, gives a fair amount for +1 CR.

    Lamia Harridan: an extremely specialized template, but if you have the requirements it's a pile of melee stat bonuses with a little mental improvements mixed in, at CR +1.

    Vampires and variants: have one +6, two +4 and two +2, with the +6 assigned to Strength, Dex, Wis, and Cha. Pricey at +2 CR, but saving on Con penalties is nice. Consider a Young Vampire, to get even more Dex, low Strength, and ignore Con issues for only CR 1.

    Half-Celestial and Half-Fiend: +4 to three attributes and +2 to the rest, for something between +1 and+3 CR. The unpredictable CR contributes to the lower rating - besides which, it's worse than Advanced at twice the cost 'on average'.

    Half Dragon: double CR price compared to Giant, sae physical boosts, minor mental boosts.

    Half-Janni: CR +2, gives +4 to Wis and Cha, +2 to Str, Dex, and Int. Expensive compared to Advanced, but does give a broad spread of attribute bonuses.


    Hacking Animate Dead

    If you're in the mood for melee, or need a pile of hit dice and feats now, the Skeletal Champion and Zombie Lord templates are very good news. The trick is that your CR only depends on your final hit dice (plus extra CR from any levels or templates you pick up afterward), so you can use a heavily templated baseline to get really excessive attributes (even mental - and boosts to Charisma are awseome).

    Skeletal Champions are limited to 20 HD due to Skeleton (BAB +15) and get 2 bonus hit dice, so possibly BAB +16, with a CR of 9. Only three levels will be refunded in this case, so it's 20d8 (or 22d8) hit points and BAB +15 for six levels. Quite decent.

    Zombie Lords get bonus hit dice for size, so you could go as high as 30 hit dice (18+ HD colossal base plus bonus HD), for BAB +22 and CR 10. Size is a bit of an obstacle for standard dungeon exploration, but it can be worthwhile.

    If you can find the body of a deceased Pit Fiend, you've got a Large frame (adventuring friendly) with 20 hit dice and extremely good physical and mental attributes, which are conserved when you transition to Skeletal Champion or Zombie Lord. Spellcasting isn't an option due to all the levels you're behind, but you're set to outdo most melee (and ranged) types.

    If you can't find a suitable corpse, you'll have to make do with lesser bodies. Dire Tigers are always cute, but you probably lose Rake, so they're less interesting. And, being animals, they can't get the template... Or can they?

    Fey Animal gives your necromantic abomination to be a bonus to Charisma, normal human intelligence, and a Dexterity boost. Plus, it's CR applied to a future corpse, so you don't care! Once you've added this, you can start to go wild. Work with a Giant creature if size constraints are not an issue. Get an Advanced one (even before boosting Int) for better attributes. Once Int is increased, toss in Nightmare Creature for exceptional boosts to Dex and Cha (and some nice Int, too - plus you get magical flight which transfers to your undead form). Half-Celestial, Half-Fiend, and Half-Dragon are all there to make you stronger. Sure, you're going to lose your Con bonus, but you're picking up boosts everywhere else and it's all free in the first place!

    As an alternative, use a base creature with fewer hit dice. You don't get as outrageous bonus hit dice, saves, and BAB, but you can end up being a few levels behind the party with utterly terrifying attributes, so Cha based spellcasting is an option (too few templates boost Wisdom, and a lot of the fun bodies have low Int).





    Lycanthropy and you

    This section will cover Lycanthropes and Animal Lords, which are essentially free piles of attribute bonuses if you get the templates at the right moment.

    As written, these templates perform the holy grail of D&D 3.5 polymorph: they replace your measly human physical attributes with much superior animal ones. Lycanthropes even get a +2 bonus to Con in animal and hybrid shapes, which does strange things to hit points.

    Incidentally, both of these templates enable insanely good leveling opportunities - you get assigned a CR, which means you are refunded levels, AND your CR is based on any levels you have! So you get bonus levels for the 'price' of having DR / silver and the ability to kill things more effectively. Pathfinder is weird.

    For both templates, the critical parts are the following:

    - Physical attributes are the best of the base and animal form values (for Lycanthropes, in hybrid and animal form only, with +2 Str and Con on top - for Animal Lords, also applies to mental attributes).
    - The final CR (and therefore equivalent level) is equal to the maximum of the CR for the two shapes, plus 1 (lycanthrope) or 2 (animal lord).

    Sadly, there are very few templates that can be added to an animal and have it remain one. Young, Terror, Advanced, Giant, and Celestial / Fiendish / Entropic / Resolute / Counterpoised are the only options.

    So you want to delay your acquisition of the template until you're high enough level that getting a massive boost in power only costs you one level. Fortunately, most animals are low CR so the wait is short. Unfortunately, the higher CR animals tend to be rather big.

    A base human can begin with an attribute at 20 (18 +2 bonus), and gain another +5 via levels. Add +5 more for wishes, and 30 is the absolute specialized maximum. In case of multiple attributes, a total of 22 or so (base 14-15, +5 from wishes, +2-3 from levels) is more likely.

    Below are the animals I found with base CR 5+ which can be applied to a normal human as lycanthrope or Animal Lord forms. Overall, Dex is hard to get and Con is around 16, but Strength can be a lot higher. So it's one or two fewer attributes to worry about if you're melee focused. Animal Lords get +4 to everything, while Lycanthropes have +2 Str and Con. If your base human form happens to be Giant (CR 1 on the human base), then you can go for even bigger animals and attribute boosts. Given the massive physical attribute boosts provided, it can be tempting to play a caster instead - you get excellent saves and hit points, at the cost of one or two levels. Remember, the animal could be Advanced for another +4 to all attrbiutes (except Intelligence), so it's possible to get rather high.

    All animals have Int 1 or 2, so any Intelligence you get via Animal Lord will be from your humanoid base.

    Name CR Size Str Dex Con Wis Cha Natural Armor Attack
    Young Behemoth Hippopotomus 9 Large 25 12 16 13 5 +14 2d10 bite (2d4 trample)
    Young Mastodon 8 Large 30 16 17 13 7 +10 1d10 bite, 2d4 slam (2d4 trample)
    Young Baluchitherium 7 Large 25 14 17 13 6 +12 two 1d10 hooves (1d10 trample)
    Dire Tiger 8 Large 27 15 17 12 10 +6 two 2d4 claws, 2d6 bite (rake: two 2d4 claws, grab, pounce)
    Young Triceratops 7 Large 22 13 15 12 7 +12 1d12 gore (2d12 charge, 1d6 trample)
    Dire Bear 7 Large 25 13 21 12 10 +8 two 1d6 claws, 1d8 bite (grab)
    Young Allosaurus 6 Large 22 17 15 15 10 +8 two 1d6 claws, 2d4 bite (grab, pounce, rake: two 1d6 claws)
    Young Elasmosaurus 6 Large 22 19 16 13 9 +7 1d10 bite
    Young Stegosaurus 6 Large 23 18 13 13 10 +10 2d8 tail (trip)
    Young Elephant 6 Large 26 14 15 13 7 +7 1d10 gore, 2d4 slam (1d10 trample)
    Arsinoitherium 7 Large 28 10 21 13 3 +11 4d8 gore (4d8 charge, 2d8 trample)
    Young Megalania 6 Large 23 17 15 14 6 +10 1d10 bite (grab, poison, 1d10 swallow whole)
    Young Ankylosaurus 5 Large 23 14 13 13 8 +12 2d6 tail (stun)
    Young Iguanodon 5 Large 23 18 15 12 7 +7 two 1d6 claws
    Glyptodon 6 Large 25 10 17 13 6 +12 two 1d10 claws
    Woolly Rhinoceros 6 Large 28 10 21 13 3 +10 2d8 gore (4d8 charge, 2d6 trample)
    Young Archelon 4 Large 18 17 15 12 6 +8 1d10 bite
    Dire Lion 5 Large 25 15 17 12 10 +4 1d8 bite, two 1d6 claws (grab, pounce, rake: two 1d6 claws)
    Emperor Cobra 5 Large 22 15 18 17 2 +7 2d6 bite (poison)
    Hippopotamus 5 Large 19 10 16 13 5 +8 2d8 bite (trample 1d8)
    Giant Frilled Lizard 5 Large 21 13 19 14 10 +8 2d6 bite, 1d8 tail
    Young Megatherium 4 Large 21 14 15 13 6 +8 two 1d6 claws (trip, rend: two 1d6 claws)
    Styracosaurus 5 Large 22 13 17 12 7 +9 2d8 gore (4d8 charge)


    Animals marked in Bold are Large as a baseline and can benefit from being Young Giants, which gives them +1 Natural Armor, +4 Strength, and +2 Dexterity for no change to CR.

    Aquatic animals are rarely present in a campaign and were not listed either.
    Last edited by meschlum; 2015-02-07 at 02:23 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Yellow is hard to read, might want a different color.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Switched to Orange, added details for all the official CR +1 templates!

    The CR+2 start getting interesting, as they involve a hefty investment for the power they grant (and need to contend with combinations of CR +1 templates).

    I'm thinking of adding a section on build benefits - which templates work best for specific goals (specific high attributes, dealing with MAD, energy immunities...), and possibly another with Type specific templates - if you are an X, what templates can you get that are otherwise not available, and what do they do?

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    And halfway through the CR+2 templates, which would only leave high HD Half-Celestial and Half-Fiend afterward (hint: they're Green at best, and that's being generous).

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Orange is a great improvement. I'll keep this on hand for monster tweaking.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    And the templates are done!

    I also added ratings for Pod Spawned, just in case those turn up.

    Next steps will be to list interesting templates based on build objectives, and go over the varied 'limited' templates and see what they do to you.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Didn't know you had an interest in Pathfinder!

    In general, I find PF's CR-lowering templates to be very interesting from a monster optimization standpoint, if potentially quite cheesy when properly abused.

    It's interesting to see how much lycanthropy has changed since 3.5, though I suppose that was inevitable given the change to the shapeshifting rules.
    Lord Raziere herd I like Blasphemy, so Urpriest Exalted as a Malefactor

    Meet My Monstrous Guide to Monsters. Everything you absolutely need to know about Monsters and never thought you needed to ask.
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    original Urpriest (by Andraste)

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    And got back to his, adding details on how to munchkin your physical attributes to the max (absent lycanthropy, which makes the numbers look tiny).

    Strength is reliable, at about +4 per CR.

    Dexterity is easy to get high, but plateaus unless you're evil (being undead helps too). This is helped because Young is -1 CR and boosts Dexterity.

    Constitution is hard to get very high, because many templates are undead-friendly. Around +3 per CR, with early bonuses due to Advanced.


    Advanced is where all the good attribute bonuses come from (with a few exceptions).

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Looking at Dungeons of Golarion, Gallowdead is referred to as a "Variant Skeletal Champion", so gallowdead (as a template) presumably modifies an existing skeletal champion for +1 CR, and the negative energy damage is d6/2hd max 10. On the otherhand, Bestiary 4 has a Gallowdead which you can't actually build with the gallowdead template, and is different from the sample gallowdead in Dungeons of Golarion, because reasons.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    And the full set of attributes (plus coverage in case of MAD) is now listed. Moral: if you want high mental stats, or MAD, be evil and undead.

    Also added a section on lycanthropy, which displays rather terrifying potential. Right now, I've limited things to the high CR animals (so the ones with high Strength and Constitution), and it's rather impressive to see what you can get by investing one or two levels at the right moment.


    On Gallowdead: we can't expect things to be consistent, now can we? All the fun of combining templates in ways Man as Not Meant To Merge would be lost.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Ok, i never saw rules for how CR interacts with player levels before this, never even heard about it. What book/faq is that and could you kindly explain it to me?
    Quote Originally Posted by Captnq View Post
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    It's a Pathfinder-only feature - namely (from the PFSRD, "Other Races" section):

    There are a number of monsters that do not possess racial Hit Dice. Such creatures are the best options for player characters, but a few of them are so powerful that they count as having 1 class level, even without a racial Hit Die. Such characters should only be allowed in a group that is 2nd-level or higher.

    For monsters with racial Hit Dice, the best way to allow monster PCs is to pick a CR and allow all of the players to make characters using monsters of that CR. Treat the monster's CR as its total class levels and allow the characters to multiclass into the core classes. Do not advance such monsters by adding Hit Dice. Monster PCs should only advance through classes.

    If you are including a single monster character in a group of standard characters, make sure the group is of a level that is at least as high as the monster's CR. Treat the monster's CR as class levels when determining the monster PC's overall levels. For example, in a group of 6th-level characters, a minotaur (CR 4) would possess 2 levels of a core class, such as barbarian.

    Note that in a mixed group, the value of racial Hit Dice and abilities diminish as a character gains levels. It is recommended that for every 3 levels gained by the group, the monster character should gain an extra level, received halfway between the 2nd and 3rd levels. Repeat this process a number of times equal to half the monster's CR, rounded down. Using the minotaur example, when the group is at a point between 6th and 7th level, the minotaur gains a level, and then again at 7th, making him a minotaur barbarian 4. This process repeats at 10th level, making him a minotaur barbarian 8 when the group reaches 10th level. From that point onward, he gains levels normally.
    So if you have a CR +1 template, you're a level down.

    With higher CR templates, you're more levels down (a Half-Dragon Fighter 1 is CR 2 plus one level of fighter, so level 3 equivalent). However, as you gain levels in a normal class, the effects f your CR begin to abate. When the Fighter has gained 3 levels in all (Half-Dragon Fighter 3, equivalent of CR 5 or level 5), he gets a bonus level, so a Half-Dragon Fighter 4 is 'equivalent' to a normal level 5 character. In the case of the Fighter, the template looks like a rather good deal: +4 to hit and damage from Strength versus +1 BAB, +12 hit points from 4 levels of Fighter and Con bonus versus 1d10 hit points, +3 to Fort saves from Con versus nothing (at level 5, granted. Long term, a pure fighter gets +1 Fort). And then you get flight, energy immunity, and a breath weapon.

    Templates are good for fighters.


    In the case of Lycanthropes, you start with an animal CR (say 8 for a Dire tiger), and take the maximum of that and your levels in a class (say Barbarian 8). Add 1 for the template, and you have a CR 9 Were-Dire Tiger Barbarian with Hybrid form Strength 29, Dex 15, Con 19 (and +2 to Wisdom in all forms, which helps your will save). A normal human Barbarian 9 gets base Strength 22 (18 + 2 racial + 2 levels) since wishes aren't really available yet, and lower Dex and Con. Instead, you can build a Barbarian with high Dex or Con, and still deliver massive damage.

    Then, at level 12 (Were-Dire Tiger Barbarian 11) you get a bonus level, so you're a Were-Dire Tiger Barbarian 12 instead. Which means the Were-Dire Tiger part is free. At level 15, you get another bonus level, so you are now a Were-Dire Tiger Barbarian 16, with power comparable to a Barbarian 15. Don't ask. And level 18 gets you to Barbarian 20 with Were-Dire Tiger on top, just to match a Barbarian 18. If you could make it to level 21, you would get one last free bonus level, and then advance normally.

    Lycanthropes (and Animal Lords) are weird.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    So use CR to equate to LA, with free buyoff of half the CR rounded up? to summarize? The the were stuff IS weird as hell it sounds like.
    Quote Originally Posted by Captnq View Post
    Wizards wind up Incanatrixs/Ultimate Magus/Whatevers. Clerics turn into CoDzillas. Blah Blah Blah. Boring. Seriously. Done this long enough that winning isn't the point. Winning with STYLE is the point.
    [10:15:05 PM] jack.of.thunder: if nothing tempts you, nothing tempts you. If no race beckons, none beckons. Cards fall where they may, where they might, where they must. That is how legends are born.

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    Raven777's Avatar

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    So, that's probably a moot point, but as I understand it the Paizo devs don't really consider templates to be a thing for player characters...
    Quote Originally Posted by Zanos View Post
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Quote Originally Posted by Raven777 View Post
    So, that's probably a moot point, but as I understand it the Paizo devs don't really consider templates to be a thing for player characters...
    See, that's what I always got from templates and the lack of LA. That templates were no longer for players because they had no balancing factor when placed on players. With GM permission, you can still totally make templates a thing players can have, especially in the supremely high powered games, but this does seem to provide a way to do it, at least.
    Quote Originally Posted by Captnq View Post
    Wizards wind up Incanatrixs/Ultimate Magus/Whatevers. Clerics turn into CoDzillas. Blah Blah Blah. Boring. Seriously. Done this long enough that winning isn't the point. Winning with STYLE is the point.
    [10:15:05 PM] jack.of.thunder: if nothing tempts you, nothing tempts you. If no race beckons, none beckons. Cards fall where they may, where they might, where they must. That is how legends are born.

    The Little Mailman

    Garet Jax

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Quote Originally Posted by Iwasforger03 View Post
    So use CR to equate to LA, with free buyoff of half the CR rounded up? to summarize? The the were stuff IS weird as hell it sounds like.
    Not quite buyoff (since it's free), and it's half rounded down - if you have any CR, you'll always be at least one level behind.

    Since you can have a monster character, if you want to have a template, just add 1 or 2 to the cost and pick a low CR monster race instead. Presto! You can't play an Advanced Human for some reason, but an Advanced Dark Dancer (two hit die CR 1 humanoid base +1 for Advanced) is fine, and you get a 1 level refund out of it, so it's +4 Strength, +12 Dex, +8 Con, +2 Int, +4 Wis, and +6 Cha for one level in your build.

    Level 1: not allowed

    Level 2: 2 hit dice, crazy good attributes, Dark Dancer powers. You're agile melee or ranged, basically.

    Level 3: Your Favorite Class 1, plus attribute bonuses. Spellcasters suffer, others are a bit behind but attributes make up for it.

    Level 5: Your Favorite Class 4, plus really good attributes (and 6 hit dice). Clerics and Druids are fairly happy (1 level behind balanced by +4 to casting stat and massively boosted survivability). Fighters have no issues (the two bonus hit dice make up for the missing point of BAB, the attribute bonuses are just gravy to balance the missing level)

    Level 20: Your Favorite Class 19, 21 hit dice, attributes are great. One level behind on casting, but so it goes.


    Higher CR monsters get fewer levels to play with (and may not be able to get all their poential CR refunded), but can still be tempting.

    CR 2: Class level -2 up to level 5, then Class level -1 (max Class level 19)
    If you're level 4, you're a Class 2 / monster
    If you're level 6, you're a Class 5 / monster
    CR 4: Class level -4 up to level 7, Class level -3 up to level 10, then Class level -2 (max Class level 18)
    If you're level 6, you're a Class 2 / monster
    If you're level 8, you're a Class 5 / monster
    If you're level 10, you're a Class 8 / monster
    CR 6: Class level -6 up to level 9, Class level -5 up to level 12, Class level -4 up to level 15, then Class level -3 (max Class level 17)
    If you're level 8, you're a Class 2 / monster
    If you're level 10, you're a Class 5 / monster
    If you're level 12, you're a Class 8 / monster
    If you're level 14, you're a Class 10 / monster
    If you're level 16, you're a Class 13 / monster
    CR 8: refunds happen at 11, 14, 17, and 20, for a maximum Class level of 16. Any higher base CR and you can't get a full refund.

    CR 11: highest CR with three refunds, so 12 levels in Class and monster features on top

    CR 14: highest CR with two refunds, so 8 levels in Class and monster features

    CR 17: highest CR with a refund, so 4 levels in Class and monster features

    CR 19: presumably, highest playable CR with the ability to take class levels.


    Interesting combos happen with Nymph (Druid 7 casting, CR 7, so 3 levels refunded - you can reach Druid 23 casting, or get a prestige or other class that costs three caster levels), Marai Rakshasa (CR 8, Sorceror 5 casting, so you get Sorceror 21 with refunds), Trumpet Archon (CR 14, Cleric 14. Two refunds gets you casting like a Cleric 22), Lamia Matriarch (CR 8, Sorceror 6. Four refunds gets you Sorceror 22. Note interactions with Lamia Harridan, at the cost of one refund and requiring divine casting. Mystic Theurge?), etc.
    Last edited by meschlum; 2014-07-07 at 11:25 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Extended animal shapes to CR 5+ (no Medium or smaller animals yet), added notes on lycanthropy and Animal Lords interacting oddly with Pathfinder rules, removed aquatic animals from the list, and used a table instead! A bit less commentary, but the numbers speak for themselves.

    Emperor Cobra Animal Lords start with Wisdom 21 without further modifiers, which is very close to ideal for a caster (Start at 20, add 3 from levels by the time you reach level 12, the minimum level for an Animal Lord). Advanced Emperor Cobra Animal Lords have Wisdom 25 at level 12, which is better than any normal race can get. With level refunds on top, it's definitely worth checking out for your Druid and Cleric needs - excellent physical attributes (Str 26, Dex 19, Con 22) and superlative Wisdom (25 base) mean you have a combat terror - at the cost of being two levels behind on spellcasting from levels 12 to 14, one behind at 15 to 17, and pure profit at levels 18+. That lets you focus on Charisma, Intelligence, or Dexterity (Elf gets Dex 23 at level 12, so it's a slight bonus) without any regrets.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Thank you for the guide!
    I'm going to participate in a level 12 game soon, and GM said "Don't worry about cheese level, this is meant to be high power, and epic scale."
    Naturally, I'm looking at Animal Lord. Am I reading it correctly that Young Advanced Animal Lord of Young Advanced base animal gets +12 to all mental stats, +4 str/con, and +20 dex? And if I were to pick CR8 dire tiger as a base animal, two more CR of templates slapped onto it won't increase my CR above 12?

    Nope, apparently I can't read, and I should maximize a stat only on one side, as Animal Lord gives me better of two.

    And I can't find anything better than Advanced on animal, considering size limits of Animal Lord and that I don't want any more CR on the humanoid side.
    Last edited by Nyaa; 2015-01-29 at 02:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Quote Originally Posted by Nyaa View Post
    Thank you for the guide!
    I'm going to participate in a level 12 game soon, and GM said "Don't worry about cheese level, this is meant to be high power, and epic scale."
    Naturally, I'm looking at Animal Lord. Am I reading it correctly that Young Advanced Animal Lord of Young Advanced base animal gets +12 to all mental stats, +4 str/con, and +20 dex? And if I were to pick CR8 dire tiger as a base animal, two more CR of templates slapped onto it won't increase my CR above 12?

    Nope, apparently I can't read, and I should maximize a stat only on one side, as Animal Lord gives me better of two.

    And I can't find anything better than Advanced on animal, considering size limits of Animal Lord and that I don't want any more CR on the humanoid side.
    Thanks!

    You could check out the CR +0 templates for extra goodies on your animal form. Pick up Celestial / Fiendish and get minor resistances as well as a variety of DR for when people come at you with silver on hand.

    Use of Young + Giant can boost physical stats to a fair degree as well (+4 Strength, +2 Dex, and a bit of natural armor for a Large animal base). The other benefit to Advanced animal forms is that it gives you a solid baseline for non Int mental stats too. The Advanced Dire Tiger has Wis 16 and Cha 14, so the Animal Lord bonus gives you a minimum of Wis 20 and Cha 18 without any investment on your 'human' side.

    The other odd option for an Animal Lord is the Advanced Emperor Cobra, which gets a base Wisdom of 25, so it makes for a phenomenal divine caster (and Str 26, Dex 19, Con 22 makes you better than most melee types if you wind up in combat). Toss in some levels of druid to wildshape yourself even higher bonuses, or be a cleric and enjoy your plethora of bonus spells and high DCs.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Quote Originally Posted by meschlum View Post
    Toss in some levels of druid to wildshape yourself even higher bonuses
    Can Animal Lord wildshape? Polymorph effects makes me "lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form", such as Change Shape, meaning I can't use base animal's attacks and probably natural armor either, and "ability to take the shape of the base animal (as shapechange)" is a polymorph effect itself, meaning I can't wildshape while in animal form.

    On a fluff note, Animal Lord seems to be monstergirl the template. Can't see anything in Change Shape that prevent me from having cat ears and tail all the time. Or be a lamia if base animal is a snake.
    Last edited by Nyaa; 2015-01-30 at 04:32 AM.

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    Thumbs up Re: Templates and you

    Awesome! Love it. Plan on using this extensively. I (as the DM) have a high-level Necromancer BBEG Villain experimenting with new types of undead. This will be helpful.

    Also, Crystal Creature still has yellow text.

    Thanks again!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Might wanna update the lycanthrope section, since the Dire Smilodon has some ridiculous stats.

    Str 31 and Con 27 for a CR7 animal.

    Yikes.

    That's without the bonus from the lycanthrope template, or template-stacking shenanigans.

    Double yikes.
    "The trick with Psionics isn't looking for what's good, it's looking for what makes everything else better."

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    It's also 3rd party, and so subject to extra DM quashing.
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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Everything is subject to DM quashing. There's a couple of mentions of that in the guide, I believe.

    No sense not making mention of it, some DMs are willing to allow such things, after all.
    "The trick with Psionics isn't looking for what's good, it's looking for what makes everything else better."

    Spoiler: The False Nose of Vecna.
    Show

    Make a disguise check every time you encounter someone new.

    If the d20 roll results in a 13 (without modifiers) that person automatically assumes you are Vecna in a very poor disguise, and cannot be convinced otherwise, short of a wish spell.

    Minor Artifact.


    In memory of Monty Oum, 1981-2015.
    The world is a little less bright, now that it lacks you.

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    Quote Originally Posted by Nyaa View Post
    Can Animal Lord wildshape? Polymorph effects makes me "lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form", such as Change Shape, meaning I can't use base animal's attacks and probably natural armor either, and "ability to take the shape of the base animal (as shapechange)" is a polymorph effect itself, meaning I can't wildshape while in animal form.

    On a fluff note, Animal Lord seems to be monstergirl the template. Can't see anything in Change Shape that prevent me from having cat ears and tail all the time. Or be a lamia if base animal is a snake.
    Ah, but an Animal Lord can use the attacks, defenses, abilities, and natural armor of its animal form in both its forms. It even explictly can grow the reqired limbs and parts needed to perform as required, so it's certainly more plausible. Besides, your attributes and NA are independent of your shape, so wildshape will stack with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanas
    Awesome! Love it. Plan on using this extensively. I (as the DM) have a high-level Necromancer BBEG Villain experimenting with new types of undead. This will be helpful.

    Also, Crystal Creature still has yellow text.

    Thanks again!
    Sadly, the real range of interesting Undead options is rather limited. On the plus side, Terror creatures work almost as well as far as necromantic influence goes, and let you play with a lot more templates...

    Crystal Creature is now corrected. There has been no edit. Move along, citizen.
    Last edited by meschlum; 2015-01-31 at 01:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    The range of interesting undead options is... limited?

    Skeletal Champion sets your entire character's CR to "normal Skeleton CR for your HD +1". Yes, this means you can be a CR 9 20th level Wizard Skeletal Champion and be considered on par with your 9th level party. The DM might punch you if you try this. In the face.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zanos View Post
    The professionally offended will always find something to be angry about.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Templates and you

    I think Smilodon, Dire is the same thing as Tiger, Dire (Smilodon) from bestiary.

    @meschlum, I'm worried about both Change Shape and Wild Shape being polymorph effects.
    Last edited by Nyaa; 2015-01-31 at 02:43 AM.

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