Monday, 17 November 2014

Pathfinder Minions - The Microlite Approach

I've been wanting to run something a little darker than the usual D&D fare recently, and I feel like Pathfinder might scratch my itch with a few modifications.

But if there's one thing I dislike about the D20 system and its progeny, its the idea that all monsters should be built like PCs. Skill points, feats, oodles of magical equipment to make sure they scale with the party... Its pretty nonsensical. I mean, with all its bells and whistles, a Pathfinder PC can be a little overwhelming at the best of times - now imagine having to run, say, six in an encounter, all with different classes and abilities.

Its fucking ludicrous.

So, I tried trimming the fat from a few of the PFSRD Beastiary entries, and here's an example of what I came up with:

Veteran CR 1/2
XP 200
Init +2; Senses Perception +2
AC 20 (+6 armor, +2 Dex, +2shield)
HP 14
Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3
Speed 30 ft.
Melee longsword +4 (1d8+3/19–20) or warhammer +4 (1d8+3/x3)
Ranged heavy crossbow +3 (1d10/19–20)
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness
Skills Heal +2, Perception +2, Survival +5
Gear alchemist's fire, holy water, oil (2), healer's kit (2 uses remaining) breastplate, heavy wooden shield, weapon, 20 bolts, bedroll, tindertwigs (2), whetstone, wooden holy symbol

And that's just the bare-bones combat stats.

Now, compare that with the original:

Superstitious Mercenary CR 1/2
XP 200
Human Fighter 1
Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +2


AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+6 armor, +2 Dex, +2shield)
hp 14 (1d10+4)
Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3


Speed 30 ft.
Melee longsword +4 (1d8+3/19–20) or cold irondagger +4 (1d4+3/19–20)
Ranged heavy crossbow +3 (1d10/19–20)


During Combat The fighter fires his crossbow, then readies his sword and shield. He saves his alchemist's fire for foes he can't harm or can't hit with his sword.


Str 17, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness
Skills Heal +2, Perception +2, Survival +5
Languages Common

Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds, alchemist's fire, holy water, oil (2), healer's kit (2 uses remaining); Other Gear breastplate, heavy wooden shield, cold iron dagger, heavy crossbow with 20 bolts, longsword, bedroll, tindertwigs (2), whetstone, wooden holy symbol, 3 gp

... I'll be honest, a lot of that comes down to formatting, and cutting bits out that don't suit the setting (I hate that every human-ish NPC carries healing potions). But for a 1st level NPC (not even a real threat to a 1st level party on his own), that's a shitton of space. Writing that out would practically take a character sheet of its own. And this guy is, what, some random thug? The higher level NPCs are atrocious. And don't get me started on casters, with spell lists, domain/bloodline/school powers... Total shitemare.

So I'm going to take a leaf out of an old favourite of mine: Microlite20.

Being a stripped down version of the D20 SRD, its almost totally compatible with PF, with but a few small tweaks. Here's a quicker version of said Mercenary/Veteran...

Veteran CR 1/2 XP 200
HD 1d10+4 (14hp)
AC 20 CMB +4 CMD 16 Saves +2
Longsword +4 (1d8+3/19–20) or heavy crossbow +3 (1d10/19–20)
Skills Phys +4, Subt +2, Know +2, Comm +0

... And that's it. Even then, I could simplify it further, bringing it closer to the old B/X statline, but for a single enemy goon, that's more than enough info for me. I don't need to know detailed combat tactic breakdowns, or what feats he has to give him +1 to this and that, or how many ranks he has in Underwater Basket Weaving - just enough to put numbers to a face.

For proper baddies, I'll be using the previous stripped down stat blocks, and maybe the BBEG will get a full stat block, but only if they're gonna hang around in multiple situations (like where their skill sets and feats might actually come up).

I'll be posting a few more rules hacks and beastiary entries over the next few days, so stay posted!

EDIT: Apologies for the formatting issues, turns out copy-pasting from the PFSRD turns everything into shit (there's a surprise...)

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