Monstrous Physique — Converting 2E Monsters, Part 2

Hello, there! Last week, I took some time to set some fundamental guidelines to porting monster over form Pathfinder 1E to Pathfinder 2E. This week, I’m going to convert a monster over and describe the steps along the way in hopes of granting some insight on the process. Let’s get started.

I guess, before I kick things off, I want to point to two resources. The first is the 1E to 2E Conversion Guide that Paizo released a few weeks ago. The second is the stat block for the monster that I’m converting. It’s a member of the couatl family named the chicome couatl. I chose this one for a number of reasons, including that it’s a rather complicated stat block and that I wrote it myself! Rather than replicate the original stat block here, I’ll just point you to the creature on the Archives of Nethys. Now that we have those in place, let’s actually get started!

To convert things over, there are a few basics we can start with. A creature’s CR easily translates to its level. Since the chicome is a CR 16 native outsider, we can look at other level 16 creatures to try to find something we can use as our basis for the stat block. Unfortunately, there’s not a good monster we can use as our starting point, so I settled on the the level 15 phoenix and added the elite adjustment to bring it up to level 16. In a pinch, this would cover most of what you need. You could reflavor and retype the damage as needed and use its spells on the fly, finding equivalents on the primal spell list. I want to get a proper stat block in place, though, so we’ll continue. The chicome’s senses are easy enough bring over with its darkvision coming over as is. Its constant detect abilities will become a constant detect alignment.

After that, let’s look at the chicome’s defensive abilities. Instead of damage reduction, I’ll convert that to a weakness to cold iron and evil. It has a lot of immunities, but acid is our only real concern. In a typical case, you want to trim immunities down to just two or so, unless the creature is a construct or undead, but we can keep all three here. PCs won’t be throwing diseases around and poison damage is a bit less common than acid, so we should be good. We can drop the resistances as it already has a few immunities. If we wanted to keep them, I would drop them down to a value of 10, as 15 is very high. I’m choosing to drop them entirely though, mostly to keep things simple. The chicome had spell resistance, which is now represented as a bonus to saves versus spells, which the phoenix conveniently has already.

From here, let’s start adding some of the unique abilities to make up the chicome. First is its aura, which normally grants the effects of the plant growth spell, which has now become a ritual. This is easy enough to bring over.

Resplendence Aura A chicome constantly radiates the effects of a successful plant growth ritual. The chicome can suppress or resume the effects of this aura as an action, which has the concentrate trait.

Thankfully, the language and effects for the ritual are pretty similar. The only change I made is to swap the free action activation of the aura to a single action. I could have created a free action version, but that requires a trigger and I figured the one action version is simpler. The constrict ability already exists so we can keep that as is, though we may want to eyeball the damage a bit. Its poison will be a bit harder to replicate and may require recreating whole cloth. Thankfully, the purple worm has poison that covers most of the thematic effects (Strength damage replicated as the enfeebled condition) so we’ll just nab that and tweak the numbers a bit.

The chicome’s spellcasting is going to be a bit of work. We can look through most of the primal spell list to find the equivalent to previous spells to cover what we want. One thing to note is that you should avoid having too many spells for the creature. This helps keep the workload down for a GM. Also, most monsters will have very few chances to use more than a handful of the spells in combat anyway, so the extra work would typically go to waste. The chicome happens to be a great ally for PCs, so we’ll keep as much of the original list as possible within these parameters as GMs may wish to use the spell list outside of combat. For the purposes of our spell casting, we can keep all of our spells as innate spells rather than prepare them as druids. They are effectively the same when it comes to a monster and it will be easier to keep track of things.

Finally, we have the natural form ability. Luckily, we can look at the druid’s wild shape ability to guide us. It points to pest form and animal form by default. Higher level feats also point us at aerial formdinosaur formdragon form, and monstrosity form. This should cover everything we need for the effect!

Natural Form [two-actions] (polymorph, transmutation) Frequency Once per day; Effects The chicome transforms into a different creature, gaining the effects of 8th-level aerial formanimal formdinosaur formdragon formmonstrosity form, or pest form. It can Dismiss the Spell to revert to its original form.

We’re on the home stretch! All that’s really left are the last few details. For its skills, we can grab the existing values and map them to corresponding 2E skills. Try to avoid having more than five or six skills unless it’s a really high level creature as things can get kind of unwieldy. Languages are easy enough to port over. The only big ability left is wild empathy, which we can just snag from the druid again. And, I think that’s it!

As you can see, things can get pretty involved when it comes to translating things over. You don’t typically have to go this in depth, but I think it’s good to understand what kind of steps you can take to decide what steps you do take when the time comes. We are just a few steps away from creating a stat block from scratch. Once the rules are released in the Gamemastery Guide, I’ll walk though those as well. But, for now, I think we can be pretty satisfied with what we have here. I’ll wrap up today’s entry with the final stat block I created. Next week, I’ll be covering the conversion of magic items. I hope you’ll join me then!

Couatl, Chicome                            Creature 16
Rare NG Huge Couatl
Perception +29; darkvision, detect alignment
Languages Celestial, Common, Draconic, Druidic; telepathy 100 feet
Skills Acrobatics +32, Deception +29, Diplomacy +33, Intimidation +29, Nature +27, Survival +29
Str +6, Dex +7, Con +5, Int +7, Wis +6, Cha +6
AC 38; Fort +29, Ref +33, Will +30; +1 status to all saves vs. magic
HP 320; Immunities acid, disease, poison; Weaknesses cold iron 10, evil 10
Resplendent Aura (aura, necromancy, primal) 1/2 mile. A chicome constantly radiates the effects of a successful plant growth ritual. The chicome can suppress or resume the effects of this aura as an action, which has the concentrate trait.
Speed 25 feet, fly 100 feet
Melee [one-action] jaws +32 (magical, reach 15 feet), Damage 4d8+11 piercing plus Grab and Chicome Venom
Constrict [one-action] 4d8+16 bludgeoning, DC 39
Primal Innate Spells DC 41; 8th faerie fire (at will), freedom of movement, gust of wind (x3), heal (x3), obscuring mist (x3), regeneration, remove disease (x3), shape wood (x3), speak with animals (at will), summon animal (x2), summon plant (x2), wall of thorns (x2); Cantrips (8th) detect magicknow direction ; Constant (8th) detect alignment
Chicome Venom (poison); Saving Throw DC 39 Fortitude, Maximum Duration 10 minutes; Stage 1 6d6 poison damage and enfeebled 2 (1 minute), Stage 2 8d6 poison damage, and enfeebled 2 (1 minute); Stage 3 8d6 poison damage and enfeebled 2 (1 round).
Natural Form [two-actions] (polymorph, transmutation) Frequency Once per day; Effects The chicome transforms into a different creature, gaining the effects of 8th-level aerial formanimal formdinosaur formdragon formmonstrosity form, or pest form. It can Dismiss the Spell to revert to its original form.

Luis Loza

Luis Loza is a developer at Paizo, working on the Pathfinder World Guide line and formerly on Campaign Setting and Player Companion lines. He's done freelance for Paizo Inc, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and more third-party publishers. His hobbies include gaming both tabletop and video, making jokes, obsessing over time travel, taking naps with Nova the cat, and walks with heather the wife. He is eternally plagued with a hunger for tacos.

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