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Editing Guide

A creature's entire stat block is dependent on 4 different source of information: Type, Hit Dice, Stats, and Special Abilities. A word of caution - be careful to find out all of the Special Abilities of a creature - frequently not everything is listed under the Special Abilities section as it may be considered a standard ability or a racial ability (such as the desecrating aura ability of nightshades for example). Start with the basics and work your way down.

Factor in or sidebar?

Especially in Paizo APs, many creatures are presented with spell effects that they are assumed to cast previous to battle factored into their stats. Unless the character is somehow guaranteed to have time casting their spells, we do not like to present the creatures in that way on the site. I suggest making a sidebar text box and including buffed stats there if you feel like making it a little easier on the GM when the creature does get to buff up. One exception to this are spells that have durations of 24 hours (or hours/level at higher level). These (eg greater magic weapon, mage armor, similar effects) should be included in the stat block if it's reasonable that the creature casts them every day.

Note that constant SLA and other magical abilities SHOULD be included in the stat block.
  1. (This step is necessary ONLY for conversions from 3.5 - for PFRPG monsters, do not worry about CR)
    Evaluate the power level of the creature - it is most important to us to preserve the relative challenge of an encounter, so if adding levels or hit dice is necessary to preserve CR, that should be done before the rest of the numbers are checked.
    • If the creature is an NPC with no racial hit dice and levels in a single class
      • Its CR should be equal to Class Level minus 1 as long as its a PC-appropriate class. If it is an NPC class, the CR should be Class Level minus 2.
    • If the creature is an NPC with racial hit dice and levels in a single class
      • Check the monster's role on the Monsters by Role listing
      • If the levels of the class complement the monster's role (ie a full base attack class for combat roles, sorcerer levels for dragons, rogue levels for derro - use your best judgement), each class level adds 1 to the creature's CR.
      • Otherwise, added classes increase a creature's CR by 1 for every 2 class levels added until the number of levels added are equal to the creature's original CR. At this point, each additional level adds 1 to the creature's CR.
    • If the creature is an NPC with no racial hit dice and levels in multiple classes
      • Use the rules given above for NPC with racial hit dice and use the highest class level as if it was racial hit dice. Eg a rogue 8/sorcerer 6 would be... rogue 8 is CR 7, then each sorcerer level added is 1/2 CR (since it's not a complementary class), which means 6 levels of sorcerer add 3 CR. Final CR is 7+3 = 10.
    • If the creature is a brand-new monster
      • Use the chart here to evaluate its battle stats. These numbers aren't set in stone, but are a guideline for you to gauge a creature's power. It's fine for a creature to have much lower AC but make up for it with more hit points... or have a much lower attack value, but make up for it with a nasty spell-like effect or similar. You should trust the designer on the CR, but if the creature is obviously underpowered or overpowered, you should ask the designer to adjust as necessary.
  2. Start working on the numbers with the basic stats of the creature - Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha
    • If the creature is an NPC with no racial hit dice, determine whether it has levels in a PC-appropriate class
      • If it does, verify that its stats are consistent with the elite array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) + racial modifiers + level advancement + any stat-affecting gear or SLAs that may be included into the stat block
      • If it does not, verify that it stats are consistent with the base array (11, 10, 11, 10, 11, 10) + racial modifiers + level advancement + any stat-affecting gear or SLAs that may be included into the stat block
    • If the creature is an NPC with racial hit dice or an Advanced/Templated version of another monster
      • Find the base creature in the bestiary and verify that the stats are consistent with the base stats + any templates + HD/level advancement + any stat-affecting gear or SLAs that may be included into the stat block
    • If the creature is a brand-new monster
      • You'll just have to trust the designers at this point - verify the numbers with the source materials if you have access to it and try to make sure that the numbers make sense - physical monsters should have high physical scores, casting ones should have high mental scores, etc
  3. Move down the stat block to finish off the stat section
    • Calculate base attack from the type and HD - calculate the BAB for class levels and racial hit dice separately and add them. For class levels use the values from the class level chart and for racial hit dice look up the base attack progression for the creature type and find the value on this chart.
    • Calculate CMB - CMB is BAB + Str + Size mod. Keep an eye out for exceptions, such as using Dex for creatures with Agile Maneuvers or smaller than small size, using HD instead of BAB for monks with maneuver training, and other feats and abilities
    • Calculate CMD - CMD is 10 + BAB + Str + Dex + Size + non-physical AC modifiers (this category includes deflection, dodge, insight, luck, sacred, and pretty much anything else other than armor or natural armor).  AC modifiers are discussed in detail later on. Keep an eye out for exceptions here as well, like creatures with Defensive Combat Training that allows them to use HD instead of BAB.
    • Feats - calculate the number of feats that the creature is entitled to. A creature is entitles to 1 + 1 per every 2 Hit Dice after the first (so, 1 at 1 HD, 2 at 3 HD, etc.) Make sure that the creature has the correct number of feats, that it meets the pre-requisites for each feat, and that the feats make sense for the creature. For example, creatures with no casting capability should not have Spell Focus and wizards that do not carry a weapon should not have Weapon Focus (unless it's Weapon Focus [ray]). You should familiarize yourself with what each feat does, as it may affect other calculations in the stat block (eg the Dodge feat which adds +1 to AC and CMD, the Great Fortitude and similar feats which add to saves, and many others)
    • Skills - calculate the number of skills that the creature should have
      • If the creature has only racial hit dice or only class levels, this calculation is simple - look up the number of skill ranks that the creature type or class gets per HD or level, add intelligence modifier, and multiply the sum by the HD. Don't forget bonuses like human 1 skill rank/level!
      • If the creature has both racial hit dice and class levels, look up the number of skill ranks that the creature type gets, add intelligence modifier, multiply by number of racial hit dice. Then look up the number of skill ranks the class gets per  level, add intelligence modifier, and multiply the sum by the number of class levels. Add these two numbers together to get your final result.
      • If the creature has any class levels, you need to verify how it favored class bonuses were assigned. It may be easier to do this after you figure out final skill modifiers, but you should keep this in mind.
    • Assign Skill values! 
      • This is somewhat more of an art than a science. The vast majority of creatures are better off picking a few skills and maxing their ranks in those skills, but the designer of the creature may have chosen to assign ranks differently. The easiest thing to do is to work backwards from the designer's choices. Take each skill value, subtract the ability modifier, any racial modifiers, other bonuses (eg Skill Focus or other skill feats), and miscellaneous modifiers (size modifiers to hide/fly, climb/swim speed modifier to climb/swim) to get back to the ranks invested. Add up all the values at the end, and if they match your number from the previous step, you're all set! If not, there was an error somewhere. 
      • There may be obvious errors (off by 1 in either direction, off by 10, missing 1 or more skills, too many skills, etc) or there may be mystery errors, where things just don't add up. Fix obvious errors and make suggestions to the author for unclear ones.
      • Don't forget about favored class bonuses, so if you find that a couple extra skill ranks were assigned for a creature with class levels, that's probably the source of the problem
      • Remember that skill values should be listed for all skills that have ranks invested OR have a modifier in the stat block (racial modifiers, feats, climb/swim speed, fly maneuverability). No other skill values should be listed.
    • Languages - the number of languages should be the int modifier + 1 unless the character is from a race that starts with more than 1 languages (most PC races do!) or has ranks in linguistics (gains 1 language for each skill rank invested, not total modifier)
  4. Now that you have taken care of the most difficult and calculation-intensive part of the stat block, you can move up to the top of the stat block and start working your way down.
    • Name and CR - look for misspelling and errors in CR, check with the source material if you have it available. Look for the name spelled differently in the title of the page in the stat block, the page title, and the URL.
    • Verify formatting of creature type - alignment and size should be capitalized, types and subtypes should not
    • Calculate Initiative - it is Dex + special modifiers, which are usually special abilities, feats, or traits.
    • Senses - makes sure that the sense are listed alphabetically and properly formatted (no capitalization, no missing . after ft., etc)
    • Perception - make sure that the listed value matches the value in the skills section. If the creature has no perception listed, this modifier is equal to the Wis modifier.
    • Aura - look for formatting issues. Proper formatting should be name of aura followed by specs in parentheses - specs should be listed as (range, effect/damage, save). If it's a standard ability with no variable effect (eg fear aura), the effect entry should be omitted.
  5. In the defensive section, there is again more math!
    • AC - find all the AC modifiers before calculating this number. The natural armor value is typically inherent to most creature (unless they have items enhancing it), so that one is fixed by the designer. Armor and shield values and determined by the equipment - reference the equipment pages as needed. Dodge bonus frequently comes from a feat. Size modifier is defined by the size of the creature. Other bonuses such as deflection, insight, luck, sacred, and others typically come from magical equipment, constant SLAs, or special abilities (see sidebar above for pre-cast spells). The total AC should be 10 + all of those bonuses. Touch AC should be total AC minus armor, shield, natural armor. Flat-footed AC should be total AC minus Dex and dodge - note that creatures with uncanny dodge or better do not lose Dex or dodge. Make sure that all bonuses are listed alphabetically.
    • hp - potentially the most important value on the whole stat block! Creatures are assumed to have average hit points per hit die (3.5 for d6, 4.5 for d8, 5.5 for d10, 6.5 for d12) with the exception of those creatures that gain their first hit die from a PC-appropriate class level have max HP for their first hit die. The bonus hit points should be equal to Con * HD. Exceptions include toughness feat (use Con+1), constructs (bonus hp based on size), undead (use Cha instead of Con), and many other feats and abilities. Remember that if the creature has class levels, any favored class bonuses that weren't used in assigning skills should be added here.
    • fast healing and regeneration - these values are assigned by the designer and should be left alone - just verify that the values are reasonable for the CR (eg CR 5 creatures shouldn't have fast healing 20 - that's likely a type-o)
    • Saves - just like base attack, you will need to calculate saves for racial hit dice and class levels separately and add them together. If the creature has only one or the other, just use that part of the equation. Look up each save on the level chart for character classes. Find out which good saves a creature has in it type description and reference the chart here to find values for good and bad saves for that level. (If you want to calculate it, good saves are HD/2+2 and poor saves are HD/3 - drop fractions; this works for class levels also) Once you have the base values for each save, add the relevant ability modifier (Con for Fort, Dex for Ref, and Wis for Will) as well as any other modifier the creature has from feats, constant SLAs, and special abilities. Remember to add conditional bonuses from spells/equipment/abilities after a semicolon.
    • Defensive Abilities - these are assigned by the designer, so there is not much to do here, just verify that they are listed alphabetically like they should be. Make sure that defensive abilities dependent on type are listed properly (eg undead creatures should list undead traits under immunities, devils should list immunity to fire and poison and resistance to acid and cold). All abilities that are not standard abilities should have entries in the special abilities section below.
    • Weaknesses - verify that they are listed alphabetically and remove the line if there are none listed
  6. Offensive section - this can frequently be the longest section, especially for spellcasters; pay special attention to special attacks as that section can frequently be complicated
    • Speed - this is usually assigned by the designer, verify that the speeds make sense and are listed alphabetically
    • Melee - the types of attacks are usually defined by the designer, usually a set of natural attacks that make sense for the creature or a set of weapons that make sense for the creatures depending on the situation. Verify that the attack and damage values are correct. Attack value is BAB + Str - Size + other mods - other mods include feats like Weapon Focus and similar, special abilities, masterwork weapons, weapon enhancements, and constant SLAs or precast spells (greater magic weapon is a common one!). Also remember that Weapon Finesse allows a creature to use Dex instead of Str
      • If the creature is using natural weapons, you should verify which weapons are primary and which are secondary on this table. If the creature only has one attack, it is treated as primary (even if the table lists it as secondary) and it adds 1.5 times the strength bonus to damage. All primary attacks use the full attack value calculated above (however, remember that feats etc may only apply to some attacks and not others) and add full strength bonus to damage. Secondary attacks will suffer a -5 penalty (-2 with Multiattack feat) and will only apply half of the strength bonus to damage. The damage dice given on the table above are just a guideline, but the values used should not deviate by more than 1 step from what's given without the Improved Natural Attack feat.
      • If the creature is using a manufactured weapon, determine the number of attacks it gets with the weapon (If BAB is < 5 = 1 attack, 6-10 is 2 attacks, 11-15 is 3 attacks, > 16 is 4 attacks). Determine the damage dealt based on the weapon it wields. Two-handed weapons add 1.5 times strength bonus, one-handed weapons add full strength bonus. If it uses multiple weapons, see the rules under the Two-Weapon Fighting feat.
      • In all cases, remember that the damage bonus for a weapon includes the appropriate strength bonus as described above, any enhancement bonuses, bonuses from feats, SLAs, and spells as well as any special abilities. Bonus damage expressed in dice (eg flaming weapon) should be added after the numerical damage bonus.
      • Special abilities that trigger on a hit (eg poison or grab) should be listed with a "plus ..." after the damage value. All of these should additionally be listed in the special attacks entry (and special abilities descriptions if it is not a standard ability.
    • Ranged - do this just like the melee entry except that the relevant ability modifier is Dex. These weapons are usually always manufactured and so follow the manufactured weapon rules. Remember that throwing weapons allow the user to add their Str bonus to strength, but projectile weapons (except for compound bows) do not. Refer to the compound bow entry for the special case description of their features.
    • Space - should be omitted if space and reach are both 5, otherwise just make sure they make sense. Medium and Small creatures have 5 ft. space and 5 ft. range, large is 10 ft. space, huge is 15 ft., etc. Range is equal to space for creatures that have free limbs that they do not stand on, and is equal to space minus 5 ft for creatures that use all of their limbs for standing. There are many exceptions, so if something looks wrong, advise the author to verify.
    • Special attacks - these will be assigned by the designer. Verify that they are correctly listed and entries are alphabetical. All special abilities that have to do with hitting the opponent should be listed here. All abilities that are not standard abilities should have entries below in the special abilities section. Verify that the numbers are correct for standard abilities - see the universal monster rules entries on each ability for a description of the abilities and how it should be calculated and presented.
    • SLAs - these are assigned by the designer. Verify that a caster level and concentration values are given (caster level is usually equal to racial hit dice or class level - conc is caster level + Cha). The formatting of the special abilities should look like the sample lines given in the template. Abilities should be listed in descending order of frequency of useage - eg. constant, at will, 1/hour, 3/day, 1/day, 1/week, 1/year, etc. For SLAs that are offensive and allow a save, the save should be listed in parentheses directly after the entry. Save DC should be 10 + level of spell ability emulates + Cha. SLAs that don't emulate a spell should have a special ability entry which should include a spell-level equivalent. Ask designer to add one if it does not.
    • Spells - the entry should list whether these are spells prepared or known (for prepared vs spontaneous casters respectively) and it should indicate what spell list the spells are chosen from. The caster level and concentration values should be included and calculated as above (except using the relevant casting stat). The spells per day and number of spells prepared/known should correspond to the table presented in the description of the class that the character has (or emulates) accounting for bonus spells from domains, specialization, high ability scores, and any items that modify this number. Spells that are offensive and allow a save should have a DC listed (calculated as above - again use the relevant casting stat). The designer makes all the decisions regarding which specific spells the creature has. Verify that all the spells are listed at the correct spell level, come from the correct class list, have the correct DC, etc. Try to make sure the spells make sense - eg angels shouldn't have blasphemy and creatures without natural weapons shouldn't have magic fang, etc.
  7. Tactics - this is entirely up to the designer. Verify that they all make sense and it doesn't mention any abilities that the creature doesn't have and other obvious errors.
  8. Special Abilities - these entries vary widely from creature to creature, and the designer makes most of the choices here. Any ability listed in the stat block that is not a standard ability should have a description here - many standard abilities that are creature-specific should still have entries (eg poison). Make sure all the descriptions make sense and give DCs where appropriate (DCs for most abilities be 10 + 1/2 HD + Ability modifier... typically abilities that affect the body use Con and abilities that affect the mind use Cha, but this can vary - the ability description should state what stat is relevant). This is also the time to verify that all the special abilities listed are mentioned in the stat block above and that they are all calculated into the stats where appropriate.