[RPG] Pathfinder monster races: Broken


I've played an ogre barbarian/fighter with a one-hit-one-kill concept, and he can put out more damage than anything in the party. I've played a serpentfolk wizard whose DCs were so high, creatures 10 CR higher than the party had trouble making the saves. I've even played a vampire anti-paladin who could slaughter anything living, and that's not even against something good aligned.

In 3.5, going from the Savage Species book, it always seemed to me like playing a monstrous race would be a hassle, if not an outright waste of time. People still did it, of course, and often to amazing affect. But a base-race with class levels instead of monstrous levels always seemed to keep up, if not outright surpass, those same creatures.

In Pathfinder, that doesn't seem to be the case. So, I was wondering:

Is there any better system for incorporating monstrous races into a Pathfinder campaign than that given in the Bestiary? (I mean these rules.)

To clarify, I'm looking for a way to include the entire monstrous race, Hit dice and the like included.
Example method: Not giving the creature bonus levels. (I don't use this method because it only really applies on a case-by-case basis. An ogre cleric, with this rule, would quickly grow underpowered, even though an Ogre Barbarian would likely keep up well with the party.)

Suggestions are welcome, and experience is always appreciated, but something official is more of what I'm looking for. If there aren't any, though, then no worries.

Best Answer

I proffer this answer only because @Zach doesn't like the answer provided above which, from a system point of view at least, is more consistent and easier to implement for the GM. However, here are some other options to work around the inherent imbalance of monster races without @Gates answer:

First and foremost - try to consider balance to be more than the sum total of what the system has to offer (and especially the combat system). In the example of the ogre you could:

  1. Make it apparent that life is difficult for creatures that big when pretty much everything is made for smaller folks: "Er... yeah - I repair weapons but something that big? I don't even know where to start. Leave it with me for a couple of weeks and I'll give it a go but don't expect anything quick or cheap"
  2. Play up reactions to the racial stereotype. There's likely to be settlements that just aren't comfortable letting an ogre wander around them.
  3. Magical items - in a campaign where they're relatively common how many are they going to find that actually fit an ogre?
  4. Transport: horses, coaches, boats etc are all likely to be difficult propositions.
  5. This one takes a little more work - but you can provide a slightly different perspective on the world with some effort to re-describe things for a less advanced race who might not understand the technical or social nuances of other species.

All of the above take more effort than just throwing in some checks and balances at character generation but they can add a lot of atmosphere to the game. I would also strongly advise talking with your group about whether any of them would help provide the sort balance that you want - after all there's not point putting balance mechanisms in that either don't work for your group or make the race entirely unplayable for your players.