If there’s one thing I love, it’s a new monster book! Flipping through old Monster Manuals as a kid is what got me into TTRPGs in the first place. Naturally, I grabbed Paizo’s new Bestiary 3 as quickly as I could, and after flipping through it the last few days, I’m impressed.
Paizo has always had a good track record with monster books; Pathfinder‘s first edition had six fantastic core ones alongside a ton of smaller, more focused volumes. Likewise, PF2E‘s first two Bestiary entries were packed to the gills with great content. Bestiary 3 continues the trend.
There’s a ton of awesome stuff in this book; it’s a must-have for any PF2E Game Master. I’d like to highlight a small handful of my favorite new creatures.
First off, there’s the Arboreal Reaper. Maybe it’s just because I’m planning a forest-centric game, but something really appeals to me about this big, evil tree. Imagine if Groot were a vampire; that’s something close to an Arboreal Reaper. It’s a strange combo, but it works!
A somewhat more familiar monster is the Flaming Skull. Look, I’m a sucker for undead, so you knew one or two would make the list! Plus, Flaming Skull is a classic spooky monster, and every time I see one it’s like I’m transported straight into The Legend of Zelda or Castlevania.
In addition to undead, I love using demons, and there are some cool new ones in Bestiary 3. One of these is the Omox, or Slime Demon. They can smother players in sticky goop, yank away weapons, and just generally be disgusting; it’s a demon and an ooze at the same time. What’s not to love?
Following the ‘disgusting slime monster’ thread, I also want to give a shout-out to the Globster! I like this one because it’s based on a real phenomenon: sometimes partially-decomposed sea creature wash up on shore, but they’re so decayed that you can’t tell what they are. It’s just a big, blubbery, yucky mass. Throughout history, people have thought these rotting blobs were sea monsters. It’s fun to see an actual monster version!
The page immediately following the Globster features a brand-new type of golem: Fossil Golems! They’re just golems made of dinosaur bones. How cool is that? It’s like a MegaZord, but bones! I love it!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the House Drake as well. While they aren’t quite as cool as some of the other drake varieties, they’re clearly a reference to my favorite comic franchise, the X-Men: a small, highly intelligent, friendly, purple dragon? Some Paizo writer just wanted their character to have their own Lockheed.
Oh! Also, Krampus is in this book. And he’s a real bastard, too! He’s got a creature level of 21! You could conceivably place Krampus as your endgame boss!
Another entry I wasn’t expecting: the Ouroboros. While this is a pretty famous symbol, it’s not something I expected to see as a literal monster that you can fight. One twist that I like: this version of the Ouroboros is actually a giant, writhing circle of snakes… but also, one huge snake? It’s a whole ’embodiment of infinity’ thing. It’s weird, but also, I dig it.
There are several kinds of tsukumogami in this game, which are essentially possessed objects. My favorite of these is the Kasa-Obake, which is and evil umbrella. It’s delightfully bizarre; I love the image of this scary umbrella just hopping around outside your house.
The last monster I want to highlight is the Wyrmwraith: a giant undead dragon. We’ve seen many versions of undead dragons; the Dracolich, the Ravener–heck, later in this very book is a Dragon Zombie. The Wyrmwraith gets extra points for sheer badassery, though. The art for it depicts a giant draconic skeleton, glowing an eerily purple and breathing a plume of darkness into the sky. It’s awesome! And they get an ectoplasmic form, because they’re basically pissed off dragon ghosts. It’s rad as hell.
That’s only a small sampling of the monsters on offer in Bestiary 3. It was fun to cherry pick some of my favorites, but frankly, I think I might need to go a little more in-depth. You know, it’s been a while since I used the old “What Kind of Monster are You” format…