Universal Monster Rules

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All-Around Vision (Ex)

The creature sees in all directions at once. It cannot be flanked.

Format: all-around vision; Location: Defensive Abilities.

Amorphous (Ex)

The creature’s body is malleable and shapeless. It is immune to precision damage (like sneak attacks) and critical hits.

Format: amorphous; Location: Defensive Abilities.


An aura is an inherent emanation that is part of the possessor's being. Unless specifically described otherwise, an aura is always present and cannot be removed in any way by either the owner of the aura or the actions of others. Note that while an aura is always present, it may or may not apply effects on others, depending on how the possessor of the aura uses it.

An aura has the effects that are laid out in the aura's description at all times, and only ceases operation when the possessor of the aura is dead. However, an aura described as spell-like, supernatural, or gained as a spell effect, is subject to anti-magic effects. Conversely, an aura described as an Extraordinary ability is not subject to anti-magic.

An aura does not effect the owner of the aura unless stated explicitly in the description.

A creature can suppress or express the effects of their aura during their turn as a swift action.

An aura cannot harm a creature unless the owner of the aura has line of effect to the victim of the aura.

An aura's effect is always triggered by the owner of the aura. This trigger is a free action. An aura can trigger its effect in one of three ways, once per round:

  1. The aura may be triggered at the end of a move action. This allows the aura owner to move up to victims and affect them.
  2. The aura may be triggered at the beginning of a full round action or a standard action. This allows the aura's owner to incorporate the aura's effect into their attacks.
  3. The aura may be triggered by other events as described in the aura. This allows auras to activate upon the death of the owner, or when they use another talent, power or ability, or some other circumstance defined in the description.

If a victim has been affected by an aura once in a round, it is immune to any further applications of the aura's effect until the beginning of its next round.

The effects of an aura last until the end of the aura owner's next round unless they are instantaneous (damage) or otherwise removed earlier.

Channel Resistance (Ex)

A creature with this special quality (usually an undead) is less easily affected by Clerics or paladins. A creature with Channel Resistance adds the bonus listed for that creature to saves made to resist the effects of Channel Divinity (Su), including effects that rely on the use of Channel Divinity (Su) (such as the Command Undead (Feat)).

Format: channel resistance +4; Location: Defensive Abilities.

Compression (Ex)

The creature can move through an area as small as one-quarter its space without squeezing or one-eighth its space when squeezing.

Format: compression; Location: Special Qualities.

Constrict (Ex)

A creature with this special attack can crush an opponent, dealing bludgeoning damage, when it makes a successful grapple check (in addition to any other effects caused by a successful check, including additional damage). The amount of damage is given in the creature’s entry and is typically equal to the amount of damage caused by the creature’s melee attack.

FAQ: When a creature with constrict grapples a foe, when does it deal constrict damage? A creature with Constrict deals this additional damage every time it makes a successful grapple check against a foe. This includes the first check to establish the grapple (such as when using the grab universal monster rule).

Format: constrict (1d8+6); Location: Special Attacks.

Defenseless (Ex)

A creature which is defenseless against something takes double damage from it.

Distraction (Ex)

A creature with this ability can nauseate the creatures that it damages. Any living creature that takes damage from a creature with the distraction ability is nauseated for 1 round; a FORT save (DC 10 + 1/2 creature’s HD + creature’s CON modifier) negates the effect.

Format: distraction (DC 14); Location: Special Attacks.

Fast Healing (Ex)

A creature with the fast healing special quality regains hit points at an exceptional rate, usually 1 or more hit points per round, as given in the creature’s entry. Except where noted here, fast healing is just like natural healing. Fast healing does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation, nor does it allow a creature to regrow lost body parts. Unless otherwise stated, it does not allow lost body parts to be reattached. Fast healing continues to function (even at negative hit points) until a creature dies, at which point the effects of fast healing end immediately.

Format: fast healing 5; Location: hp.

Ferocity (Ex)

A creature with ferocity remains conscious and can continue fighting even if its hit point total is below 0. The creature is still staggered and loses 1 hit point each round. A creature with ferocity still dies when its hit point total reaches a negative amount equal to its Constitution score.

Format: ferocity; Location: Defensive Abilities.

Gaze (Su)

A gaze special attack takes effect when foes look at the attacking creature. The attack can have any sort of effect, see each writeup for details. While the gaze attack power is active, each opponent within the range of that gaze attack must attempt a saving throw each round at the beginning of his or her turn in the initiative order. Only looking directly at a creature with a gaze attack leaves an opponent vulnerable. Opponents can avoid the need to make the saving throw by not looking at the creature, in one of two ways.

Averting Eyes: The opponent avoids looking directly at the creature, instead looking at it out of the corner of the eyes in fleeting glimpses, watching its shadow, tracking it in a reflective surface, etc. Each round, the opponent has a 50% chance to avoid having to make a saving throw against the gaze attack. The creature with the gaze attack, however, gains partial concealment (20 percent miss chance) against that opponent.
Wearing a Blindfold: The foe cannot see the creature at all (also possible to achieve by turning one's back on the creature or shutting one's eyes). The creature with the gaze attack gains total concealment (50 percent miss chance) against the opponent.

A creature with a gaze attack activates the power as described in the ability.

Since they are based on vision, gaze attacks can affect creatures with line of sight but not line of effect, even including beings that are ethereal, Cloistered, Displaced, or Exiled. The creature with the gaze attack does not need to know an enemy is near: the saving throw is based upon the actions of the enemy creatures, not the actions of the creature with the gaze attack.

A creature is immune to gaze attacks of others of its kind unless otherwise noted. Allies of a creature with a gaze attack might be affected. All the creature's allies are usually considered to be averting their eyes from the creature with the gaze attack, and have a 50% chance to not need to make a saving throw against the gaze attack each round.

Grab (Ex)

If a creature with this special attack hits with the indicated attack (usually a claw or bite attack), it deals normal damage and attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. Unless otherwise noted, grab can only be used against targets of a size equal to or smaller than the creature with this ability. If the creature can use grab on creatures of other sizes, it is noted in the creature's Special Attacks line. The creature has the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use the part of its body it used in the grab to hold the opponent. If it chooses to do the latter, it takes a –10 penalty on its Maneuver Offense to make and maintain the grapple, but does not gain the grappled condition itself. A successful hold does not deal any extra damage unless the creature also has the constrict special attack. If the creature does not constrict, each successful grapple check it makes during successive rounds automatically deals the damage indicated for the attack that established the hold. Otherwise, it deals constriction damage as well (the amount is given in the creature’s descriptive text).

Creatures with the grab special attack receive a +4 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to start and maintain a grapple.

Hardened (Ex)

A creature which is hardened against something takes half damage from it. Many creatures are only hardened against precision damage, for example, rather than being completely immune to it (e.g. oozes, incorporeal creatures, elementals, etc.).

Immunity (Ex)

A creature which is immune to something takes no damage from it. (See also: Hardened) Creatures with no discernible anatomy are often immune to flanking, for example.

Few creatures should ever be immune to precision damage (unless that is their schtick), since it essentially takes several classes out of the fight entirely. Similarly, immunity to magic should probably be represented by Spell Resistance instead of immunity.

Light Blindness (Ex)

Creatures with light blindness are blinded for 1 round if exposed to bright light, such as sunlight or the daylight spell. Such creatures are dazzled as long as they remain in areas of bright light.

Format: light blindness; Location: Weaknesses.

Light Sensitivity (Ex)

Creatures with light sensitivity are dazzled in areas of bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.

Format: Weakness light sensitivity; Location: Weaknesses.

Natural Attacks

Many creatures use natural attacks instead of weapons during combat. Such monster attacks are defined in their Monster blueprint, and will have the unique effects described for each monster. If a player character is granted a natural attack byt an ability, spell, or other effect, it is resolved as an unarmed strike unless otherwise defined, and does not normally provoke an attack of opportunity.

Negative Energy Affinity (Ex)

  • The creature is alive but is healed by [negative energy] and harmed by [positive energy], as if it were an undead creature.
Format: negative energy affinity; Location: Defensive Abilities.

Pull (Ex)

A creature with this ability can choose to make a free Maneuver Offense check with a successful attack. If successful, this check pulls a creature closer. The distance pulled is set by this ability. The type of attack that causes the pull and the distance pulled are included in the creature’s description. This ability only works on creatures of a size equal to or smaller than the pulling creature. Creatures pulled in this way do not provoke attacks of opportunity and stop if the pull would move them into a solid object or creature.

Format: pull (tentacle, 5 feet); Location: Special Attacks and individual attacks.

Push (Ex)

A creature with the push ability can choose to make a free Maneuver Offense check with a certain successful attack (often a slam attack). If successful, this check pushes a creature directly away as with a Bull Rush, but the distance moved is set by this ability. The type of attack that causes the push and the distance pushed are included in the creature’s description. This ability only works on creatures of a size equal to or Smaller than the pushing creature. Creatures pushed in this way do not provoke attacks of opportunity and stop if the push would move them into a solid object or creature.

Format: push (slam, 10 feet); Location: Special Attacks and individual attacks.

Regeneration (Ex)

A creature with this ability is difficult to kill. Creatures with regeneration heal damage at a fixed rate, as with fast healing, but they cannot die as long as their regeneration is still functioning (although creatures with regeneration still fall unconscious when their hit points are below 0). Certain attack forms, typically [fire] and [acid], cause a creature’s regeneration to stop functioning on the round following the attack. During this round, the creature does not heal any damage and can die normally. The creature’s descriptive text describes the types of damage that cause the regeneration to cease functioning.

Attack forms that don’t deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing. Severed parts that are not reattached wither and die normally.

A creature must have a Constitution score to have the regeneration ability.

Format: regeneration 5 (fire, acid); Location: hp.

Rock Catching (Ex)

The creature (which must be of at least Large size) can catch Small, Medium, or Large rocks (or projectiles of similar shape). Once per round, a creature that would normally be hit by a rock can make a REFL save to catch it as a free action. The DC is 15 for a Small rock, 20 for a Medium one, and 25 for a Large one. (If the projectile provides a magical bonus on attack rolls, the DC increases by that amount.) The creature must be aware of the attack in order to make a rock catching attempt.

Format: rock catching; Location: Defensive Abilities.

Rock Throwing (Ex)

This creature is an accomplished rock thrower and has a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls with thrown rocks. A creature can hurl rocks up to two categories smaller than its size; for example, a Large hill giant can hurl Small rocks. A “rock” is any large, bulky, and relatively regularly shaped object made of any material with a hardness of at least 5. The creature can hurl the rock up to five range increments. The size of the range increment varies with the creature. Damage from a thrown rock is generally twice the creature’s base slam damage plus 1-1/2 times its Strength bonus.

Format: rock throwing (120 ft.); Location: Special Attacks (damage is listed in Ranged attack).

Summon (Sp)

A creature with the summon ability can summon other specific creatures of its kind much as though casting a Summon Monster (Spell), but it usually has only a limited chance of success (as specified in the creature’s entry). Roll d%: On a failure, no creature answers the summons. Summoned creatures automatically return whence they came after 1 hour. A creature summoned in this way cannot use any spells or spell-like abilities that require material components costing more than 1 gp unless those components are supplied, nor can it use its own summon ability for 1 hour. An appropriate spell level is given for each summoning ability for purposes of WILL saves, Caster Check , and concentration checks. No experience points are awarded for defeating summoned monsters.

Format: 1/day—summon (level 4, 1 hezrou 35%); Location: Spell-Like Abilities.

Spell-Like Abilities (Sp)

Spell-Like Abilities are magical and work just like spells (though they are not spells and so have no verbal, somatic, focus, or material components). They go away in an Antimagic Field (Spell) and are subject to Spell Resistance (SR) if the spell the ability is based on would be subject to SR.

A spell-like ability usually has a limit on how often it can be used. A constant spell-like ability or one that can be used at will has no use limit; unless otherwise stated, a creature can only use a constant spell-like ability on itself. Reactivating a constant spell-like ability is a swift action. Using all other spell-like abilities is a standard action unless noted otherwise, and doing so provokes attacks of opportunity. It is possible to make a Caster Check to use a spell-like ability defensively and avoid provoking an attack of opportunity, just as when casting a spell. A spell-like ability can be disrupted just as a spell can be. Spell-like abilities cannot be used to counterspell, nor can they be counterspelled.

For creatures with spell-like abilities, a designated caster level defines how difficult it is to dispel their spell-like effects and to define any level-dependent variables (such as range and duration) the abilities might have. The creature’s caster level never affects which spell-like abilities the creature has; sometimes the given caster level is lower than the level a spellcasting character would need to cast the spell of the same name. If no caster level is specified, the caster level is equal to the creature’s Hit Dice. The saving throw (if any) against a spell-like ability is 10 + the level of the spell the ability resembles or duplicates + the creature’s CHA modifier.

Some spell-like abilities duplicate spells that work differently when cast by characters of different classes. A monster’s spell-like abilities are presumed to be the Sorcerer/Wizard versions. If the spell in question is not a Sorcerer/Wizard spell, then default to Cleric, Druid, Bard, Paladin, and Ranger, in that order.

Format: At will - burning hands (DC 13); Location: Spell-Like Abilities.

Stench (Ex)

A creature with the stench special ability secretes an oily chemical that nearly every other creature finds offensive. All living creatures (except those with the stench special ability) within 30 feet must succeed on a Fort save against the normal save DC for the CR of the creature or be sickened for one round. Note that Stench serves as obscurement against olfactory based senses (see Blind).

Unnatural Aura (Su)

Animals do not willingly approach the creature unless the animal’s master makes a Handle Animal, Ride, or Wild Empathy (Ex) check against a target of 10 plus double the animals CR.

Format: unnatural aura (30 ft.); Location: Aura.


A creature which is vulnerable to something takes 1.5x damage from it. For example, many undead are vulnerable to positive energy. Fey are nearly always vulnerable to cold iron. (See also: Defenseless.)

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