Investing In: Monster Core

Fight for Glory! Intense battles call for intense monsters! Inside Monster Core, you’ll find over 400 creatures, including fantasy classics like elves, ogres, and all-new dragons…1

In the ever-evolving world of Pathfinder 2E, I am thrilled to have in hand Paizo’s latest release:  Pathfinder Monster Core.  By the time of this article, you can too peruse its pages and let the creatures therein captivate you with the latest treasure from the illustrious Remaster line.  This tome promises not just an expansion of the creatures that players can encounter but also introduces a slew of improvements and adjustments that refine the Pathfinder2E experience.  There’s brand new art and brand new Lost Omens lore too!  So, grab your dice, and let’s delve into what makes the Monster Core a critical update for adventurers and GMs alike!

More Accessible!

From the moment you crack open the Monster Core, it’s evident that Paizo has taken feedback to heart, implementing style guide changes that catch the eye even on the Introduction page. The immediate standout is right there at the top with the introduction banner sporting a fresh look that sets the tone for the pages to follow.  They’ve brought that Remaster feel here, but it’s more and more evident of stylistic changes that set the tone going forward. Gone is the papyrus-like beige that once served as the background, replaced now by a crisp white canvas that breathes a sense of clarity into every page.  Navigating the book has been made more intuitive, with the table of contents on the right now boasting easier-to-read callouts, ensuring you can quickly find the creature or section you need without the fuss. Another example is the “Reading Creature Statistics” headline, which has undergone a transformation, featuring a different font that eschews the all-caps of its predecessor for a more accessible reading experience.  Accessibility and inclusivity have clearly been prioritized, as seen with the addition of Content Warnings sections. This thoughtful inclusion warns of creatures tied to specific subjects that might be sensitive for some players, covering topics like alcohol/drugs, body horror, gore, and torture. It’s a considerate touch that allows game masters and players to tailor their adventures, ensuring everyone at the table feels comfortable and engaged.

More Monsters!

In terms of content, the Monster Core is hefty, coming in at 357 pages for the creatures, beating out the Pathfinder2E Bestiary of 341.  Total with other monstrous detail and organizational tables Core has 372 pages before backmatter, slightly outpacing the original Pathfinder Bestiary. But it’s not just about quantity; the quality and diversity of creatures have seen a significant enhancement. Among the notable changes are the alterations to dragons, a topic of much discussion across social media and prefaced in various forms over the last few months. Paizo has revisited these majestic creatures, tweaking them in ways that promise to impact gameplay and storytelling by focusing on the lore of them.  Interacting with each is bound to feel quite different from the steadfast Adamantine Dragon who are a form of primal, skymetal dragon focused on their purpose.  Meanwhile the Omen Dragon (above) is one of the occult with mirror-like membranes to their wings that offer a glimpse into the future.  Considering those visions could be shared with anyone – Omen dragons don’t care – there’s a lot of story opportunity!

Of course, Monster Core doesn’t shy away from evolution, as the Remaster line is certainly about leaving the OGL behind and embracing the ORC.  They’ve replaced the golem family in general with various other constructs.  Now the clay golem has become the clay effigy.  They’ve bid farewell to the adamantine golem, replaced with the formidable Aolaz.  I love that there’s a nice lore sidebar about how the Aolaz are from the Jitska Imperium. Gone is the blanket immunity to magic too with a few options the best choice to use.  There’s still hefty resistance to physical and spells, but like in the case of the Clay Effigy that telekinetic strike that couldn’t work before will work (albeit the physical resistance 10) or you should focus on spells of cold, earth, and water to ignore the spells resistance of 10.  The Aolaz?  No resistance to spells but more immunities to things like sonic, spirit, and more.

The crimson worm has transformed into the magma worm, reflecting a shift towards more thematic and visually compelling creatures.  Perhaps the most exciting aspect for new GMs while surprising long-time fans is the inclusion of creatures not found in the original Bestiary. The Norn from Bestiary 2, the Scarecrow from Bestiary 2, the Serpentfolk from Bestiary 2, and the Tooth Fairy from Bestiary 3 (just to name a few) have all found their way into the Monster Core. For those craving something old but new again, there’s the Pipefox (pictured at top) though it was listed as a familiar option in Grand Bazaar.  Meanwhile the Bogwid (above) makes its debut in Pathfinder 2E, adding an extra layer of danger to your swampy adventures.  The whole ravenous young that launch themselves at a target to feed is disturbing and awesome.  Sorry players!

More Updates!

The dev team at Paizo has also made numerous stat adjustments to the creatures within the Monster Core, ensuring that the balance and challenge of encounters remain engaging for players of all levels. These tweaks are a testament to Paizo’s commitment to refining their game, responding to community feedback, and enhancing the Pathfinder 2E experience.  I assume various errata have been woven in.  For example the giant scorpion’s AC has been fixed in a minor but meaningful way.  Obviously languages have been updated and damage types changed to void, vitality, etc.  The Creature 10 Rakshasa, now the Raja-Krodha, has more than a few fixes to its stats.  I also noted that the Creature 5 Dandasuka isn’t in Monster Core, instead it’s the Creature 1 Raktavarna.  Guess we’ll see the Dandasuka updated in Monster Core 2? Which reminds me I wanted to call out the vampire mastermind art changed from a masc, deranged looking vampire to a femme, beautifully gowned vampire.  I’m imagining that’s to accentuate the social manipulator aspect but there’s new art woven all throughout the book, some of it from various books already published.  It’s also possible because Vampire Mastermind became Rare instead of Uncommon.  A number of rarities shifted for creatures too.

More News!

Also in exciting news, the tabletop community has shown its support for creativity and Luck of the Harbor with the new game Warrenguard funding at over 400%! It’s a vibrant reminder of the passion and enthusiasm that players and creators alike bring to the tabletop world. I’ve gotten to playtest it a few times, and eagerly backed it. I can’t wait to see what kind of rider archetype we get from Jay Dragon as well as the additional art and lore!

The Monster Core is a wonderful update.  It’s a gateway to new adventures, teeming with creatures that challenge, terrify, and enchant. Paizo’s dedication to improving accessibility, along with their commitment to expanding and refining the game’s content, is clearly on display in this latest offering. Whether you’re a seasoned game master or a curious newcomer, the Monster Core promises to be an indispensable addition for you to invest in for your Pathfinder 2E collection.

Investing In:

I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!

I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!


Banner Pathfinder Monster Core cover, Paizo

  1. Backmatter excerpt, Pathfinder Monster Core, Paizo
  2. Pipefox, Pathfinder Monster Core, Paizo
  3. Omen Dragon, Pathfinder Monster Core, Paizo
  4. Bogwid, Pathfinder Monster Core, Paizo
  5. Vampire Mastermind, Pathfinder Monster Core, Paizo
  6. Back cover, Pathfinder Monster Core, Paizo

Rob Pontious

You may know Rob Pontious from Order of the Amber Die or Gehenna Gaming's first series of Monster Hearts 2. He currently writes Know Direction's Investing In blog as well as a player for the Valiant podcast and Roll for Combat's Three Ring Adventure. He's been a lover of TTRPGs for over three decades, as a gamer, and a GAYMER. You can find him on social media as @silentinfinity.