So my family and I love Pathfinder. We try to play every Friday night, and we’ve built up a collection of Pathfinder books along the way. The newest edition to our collection and the Pathfinder rule set is the Monster Codex, and I have to say I am impressed. The Codex is a must have addition to every Pathfinder library and a great Christmas gift for every game master.
For me, one of the most frustrating parts of the game mastering Pathfinder is creating NPC monsters. It’s tiresome to outfit monsters and give them reasonable equipment. Often I end up skipping the process and using the bland versions in the bestiary. Of course, one can find a slew of ready made monsters online, but they can often lack finesse and cohesion when you try to work with them as a group. The monster codex is designed to solve that problem.
The Codex takes an in-depth look at twenty different races of monsters, adding pages on their culture, new racial traits, favored classes, feats, spells and magic items. Most importantly, the Codex lays out several different types of NPC for each race and then combines them to create encounters with a variety of CRs for each monster. For me, that alone makes the whole book worthwhile. Nothing frustrates me more than trying to create a CR 8 adventure with orcs. Uggh… Now the chore is as simple as opening the book to the right monster and, if necessary, tweaking a party just a little to fit your needs.
Some of the customizations can be quite entertaining as well. For example, they have a goblin flying on a vulture with stats for both the customized goblin and its mount. Many races have unique mounts in the book, which adds to the enjoyment of building parties with them.
The codex adds great content on the following races:
- Fire Giants
- Frost Giants
- and Vampires
In general, the book is laid out in a straightforward manner with Pathfinder‘s familiar style and tone. As is usual with bestiaries and books dealing with monsters in Pathfinder, there are indexes at the back which will help you find a monster party with just the right CR for your encounter, or help you modify the monsters in the book, or find monsters with specific feats and abilities.
Overall The Pathfinder Monster Codex is a fantastic addition to the Pathfinder rule set and a book that I will refer to often when building campaigns. It makes a great holiday gift for any game master.