Archives of Nethys

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Appendix 1: Creating Monsters and Other NPCs

Step 7: Skills

Source Alien Archive pg. 142
The NPC arrays use two categories for skills: master and good. The number for each categories is the NPC’s total bonus for skills in that category; don’t add ability score modifiers. For any skill that isn’t a master or good skill, use the appropriate ability score modifier. If the NPC’s ability score modifier associated with a master or good skill exceeds the bonus the array assigns, use the ability score modifier instead.

As mentioned on page 128, NPCs have good Perception by default. You can still pick it as a master skill for an incredibly perceptive creature or use just the creature’s Wisdom ability score modifier if the creature is inept at detecting things.


Source Alien Archive pg. 142
A creature’s special senses allow it to detect things a normal human couldn’t. Usually, these are free abilities, but there are some exceptions. The lists below include all the abilities for senses, divided into ones that are free and ones that aren’t.


  • Blindsense (scent or vibration)
  • Darkvision
  • Low-light vision


  • Blindsense (life, thought, or other exotic sense)
  • Blindsight (any sense)
  • See in darkness
  • Sense through (any sense)

Assigning Skills

Source Alien Archive pg. 142
In most cases, your NPC’s master skills should be ones associated with its highest ability score modifiers. An NPC with its highest bonus in Dexterity might have Acrobatics or Stealth among its master skills, for example.

The number of skills you give your NPC is fairly flexible. While you should generally stay within 1 or 2 of the suggested number of master and good skills for the creature’s CR, you might give a scholarly spellcaster more master skills, and mindless creatures often have no master or good skills at all.