Book Review: Pathfinder Bestiary 2

No matter what kind of GM you are, chances are that, at some point in time, you’ve needed something… more. The usual round of orcs, goblins and dragons. But, by now, you’ve likely taken your players through most of the usual suspects. You’ve added templates, class levels and you’ve used all of the monsters that you’ve found that are appropriate for the world in which you’re playing. You could always go back and grab your old Monster Manuals and update the monsters for Pathfinder but now, you might not have to.

Paizo recently released their Bestiary 2 and it might just have what you’re looking for. It clocks in at 320 pages and, aside from some repeated sections from the first Bestiary (those dealing with how to read the stat blocks and all the appendices) all of the content is brand new for Pathfinder. There are some monsters that are familiar from D&D 3.5 that are part of the OGL and weren’t included in the first Bestiary (Blink Dogs, anyone), a whole spate of monsters updated from the Necromancer Games Tome of Horrors and a good batch that are either unique to Pathfinder or variations on monsters that are from D&D that are different enough to not provoke litigation.

I read through the book and I have to say, I was really happy with what I saw. I was expecting to see a lot of monsters for higher levels or things that were so esoteric that I wouldn’t be able to use them. What I found instead was one hell of a lot of utility. There are monsters for every CR all the way up to the CR 23 Jabberwock(!). I will say that if you’re not looking for Planar creatures or Fey, then you should probably move along. However, if you are looking for those things, then you’re definitely in luck.

Those two categories are very well-represented in this book. I, for one, think that’s pretty awesome. I don’t own any of the Golarion books but I have a feeling that if I did, these creatures would help to flesh out the cosmology very well. Even without Golarion to place these creatures in an around, I find these additions very, very welcome. The planar creatures have a wide range of CRs as well, so they can easily make appearances in any campaign at any level. The same is true for the Fey. And, speaking honestly, I have a soft spot in my heart for Fey. I like the mythology that spawned them and I like seeing them represented in this book. And, speaking of representations…

When looking through the older D&D Monster Manuals, or even the new 4e ones, the artwork can really put me off of a monster. Take, for example, the Athach. If you’ve got a 3.5 Monster Manual, flip to that entry and take a look at the artwork. Now, don’t get me wrong, the artwork is pretty good, but I’ve never quite understood how that third arm worked given how it’s represented. When I turned to the Athach entry in the Bestiary 2, I loved it. Now, that’s all personal preference but now I know how the third arm works and I really want to drop one on my players when they to the appropriate level. In fact, I found that to be true throughout the book. Every creature I saw gave me a much better idea of how the creature worked and made me want to use it. I can think of no better use for artwork in a monster book.

With monster books, when it comes down to it, you either want more monsters or you don’t. I wanted more monsters and Paizo delivered in a big way. Everything about the book was good and I was really happy with the monsters that I saw. So, if you’re looking for some extra threats for your game, then look no further. It gives you a lot of options and will likely save you from having to do any monster updating yourself.

Final Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars if you want more monsters. And if you don’t, well, then why in the world would you buy a monster book, regardless of how good it is?

[tags]rpg, rpgs, role playing games, Pathfinder, review[/tags]

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Pathfinder Bestiary 2

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  1. Agreed. 🙂

    And for my Pathfinder campaign, which starts tomorrow, this book arrived just in time as it’s a pretty fey-heavy campaign. Oh, I would have gotten it anyway because I like monster books and I wasn’t expecting there to be such a good selection of fey so it ended up being a very pleasant surprise.

    I also didn’t realize how many of the “classic” 3.x monsters had been left out of the first bestiary until I saw some of my old favs pop up in here.

    This is the first book I got in my brand spanking new Pathfinder Subscription, so I was able to snag the .pdf for free which looks GREAT on my iPad.

    Additionally, the Hero Lab dataset for the Bestiary 2 was already available which will save me a TON of work. 🙂


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