Player groups are always need more monsters and creatures to face, or only to meet in a memorable moment of a campaign. This is why we are always happy when we receive a new book filled with creatures. Pathfinder Bestiary 3 is the third monster book from Paizo, and it’s really filled with content which will make most Game Masters happy.
In this book we receive more than 300 different entries. They range from allies (helpful creatures, familiars, animal companions etc.) to enemies and several playable races. The authors included dozens of monsters from different mythologies, as well as classic monsters from literature and DnD editions.
The presentation of the book is really good, as you would expect from Paizo. I didn’t like some of the art included in the book, but maybe it’s because my personal taste, and not a problem with general quality. most of the entries are presented in a one page format, which make the book easier to use, but sometimes I would be happy if I could have read a longer description about some of the creatures within the book. We also receive several index to always find what we are looking for, so I think the presentation is really good.
Speaking about the content, Bestiary 3 includes several new playable races : Catfolk, Suli, Vanara, Vishkanya and Ratfolk. The Suli are genie blooded mortals, with some elemental powers, the Vanaras are simian humanoids (taken from Hindu myths) and the Vishkanya are exotic and poisonous humanoids.
For me, the most pleasing part of the book is the inclusion of hordes of monsters from at least a dozen different mythology, including Hindu, Norse, Japanese, Slavic, Greek, Arabian, Persian, Inuit and many more. As I really like to run campaings based on mythology, the book is a real tresure chect for me in this regard.
We also receive several monsters based on literature, and classical fantasy monsters, like the redeemed misfits Wolf-in-a-sheep’s-clothing, Flail Snail and Flumph to ones like the Shadow Mastiff and the Demilich. Bestiary 3 also greatly expand upon on some themes, like the Naga, Rakshasa, Oni and maybe most extensively : Dragons. Dragon lovers receive new eastern varieties, as well as new linnorms, and exotics like the Faerie dragon.
I think any Game Master could find monsters suitable for his campaign in this book, as the creatures provide a great variety both in theme, flavor and CR. Speaking about CR : it’s goes up to 24 with Hekatonkheires, a little bit above the CR 23 in Bestiary 2.
Some monters and variants are only mentioned in the book, but without full stats or an exact CR. This is sometimes fustrating, but maybe those will appear in a future supplement.
All in all I think it’s a very good addition to Pathfinder. The only thing I miss here, is an index by mythology to the mythological monsters in the book. At the end Bestiary 3 really deserves an 5/5 final score, with is high content value and good presentation.
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros