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Help:Writing an article about a creature

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White dragon
Arkrhyst, a white dragon.
(Creature)
Type Dragon
(cold)
CR 2-18 (by age category)
Environment Cold mountains
Alignment
Images of white dragons

Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 100-101
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On PathfinderWiki, the term "creature" refers to any species or race in the Pathfinder campaign setting. Articles about a specific or named member of any species or race should have a person article, even if they are of a monstrous species, such as a dragon or goblin. For help with this, see Help:Writing an article about a person.

Information icon.svg

Summary
Use the {{Creature}} infobox template for creatures and races, but not for unique creatures or individual people. Check {{Creature}} page for a blank infobox that you can use, and fill in as much as you can. Add navbox templates for related creature types. Remember: Some "crunch" elements are allowed in infoboxes and categories, but not in the article's contents!

Template

Begin the article by using the {{Creature}} template. Visit that template page, copy the text from the usage box, and paste this at the beginning of your article, then fill in the blanks. The template automatically knows only to display the information that you fill in, so if you leave any of the fields blank, they simply are not displayed. See the example template for the white dragon by editing this page.

The {{Creature}} infobox template includes Source and Page parameters. Use these to cite the source of content in the infobox. If content in the infobox differs from this source, cite them using normal source citations.

Sections

There are no hard-and-fast rules on what sections should and should not exist within an article, although there is some logic to the convention that has built up with the creation of many articles about creatures. The sections for a typical playable race are different from those of a creature that serves as cannon-fodder for adventurers.

You might consider using, but are not forced to use, the following sections in your article:

Appearance
A physical description of the creature. Listing here coloration, body shape, size and defining features of a typical member of the species or race, as well as any variations among subspecies. If these subraces are too distinctive, though, it might be best to create a different article for each one, such as is done for dragons.
Abilities
Without delving into "crunch", describe the capabilities of the creature and its defining abilities. This would include special attacks and defenses, but should not present any quantifiable information that would allow someone to use these abilities without the source material.
Ecology
The creature's environments and behaviors, such as where and how they live. A subsection, or alternatively a standalone section, named "On Golarion" can delve into traits unique to the campaign setting, as opposed to a creature's general tendencies.
Known examples
If specific examples of the creature exist in the setting, this is an appropriate place to list them, along with a brief description of their characteristics. It should provide a link to the relevant person article for their full information.

In the case of a race (rather than a species), the following sections are appropriate, though not required.

Appearance
Similar to the appearance section for any creature, this should describe the physical qualities of the race and their defining common features.
Society
For races with complex societies, describe the workings of their civilization here.
History
Some races have distinct histories which are separate from the general history of Golarion. Describe any major historical events or eras here.
Religion
If the race has specific religious beliefs, detail them here.
Inhabitants
Since most races will have far too many specific examples to list, simply providing a link to the related racial category should be sufficient. Feel free to link to especially prominent or iconic examples, however.

Categorization

Although the following list is not exhaustive, generally an article about a creature should be categorized according to its traits.

Information icon.svg

The {{Creature}} infobox template, unlike many other infobox templates, does not automatically add many of these categories for you. Creatures are often too complex to accommodate automatic categories. For more information, see {{Creature}}.

Type

The creature type, and any subtypes, should be included. This allows for easy searching for a specific type of creature. For example, a creature with the humanoid type and the goblinoid subtype would belong in the Category:Humanoids and Category:Goblinoid subtype creatures categories.

Truly unique creatures

Some creatures do not belong to a type or race, or are so unusual or individually distinctive that they do not easily fit into one—they are truly one of a kind. Some examples include Spawn of Rovagug and individual kaiju. These creatures can be categorized as Category:Unique creatures.

If a creature has a name but is otherwise not significantly distinct from any race or species, see Help:Writing an article about a person.

Challenge rating

All creatures have a base challenge rating, and this should be noted both in the {{Creature}} template as well as through inclusion in a category. A slurk would thus be included in the Category:CR 2 creatures category.

Alignment

Include the creature in the related alignment category or categories based on its normal alignment, such as Category:Lawful evil creatures.

A creature that is aligned to an axis—for instance, one that is always evil but has no inclination toward law, neutrality, or chaos—would be included in the axis's category, such as Category:Evilly aligned creatures.

If a creature can be of any alignment, categorize it in Category:Any alignment creatures.

Environment

Be sure to include the article in a category that reflects its natural environment. An example of this would be placing the example white dragon in the Category:Cold mountain creatures category. If it has the "Any" environment descriptor, categorize it as Category:Any environment creatures.

Note that some creatures have inferred environments not explicitly described in a stat block. Inferred environments are allowed, but might be removed if a later canon source determines that such an inference isn't appropriate for that type of creature.

Template

If the article covers a template that can be applied to another creature, include it in only the categories that apply to the templated creature, not the base creature. Also, add the article to the Category:Creature templates category.

Conflicts and tiered stats

Some creatures change across multiple publications, especially as Pathfinder RPG mechanics evolve, while some creatures have tiered statistics for different situations.

For tiered creatures, note all pertinent statistical variations (such as CR) in the infobox, and add categories for each tier. For creatures with different forms, use your best judgment, follow the examples of other articles (such as how white dragon handles juvenile and adult dragon forms, or compare how bat handles dire bats to how dire corby is handled), or ask Project:administrators or on the forums for help.

Infoboxes and article content should reflect the current state of a creature, but even when content is explicitly updated to resolve a conflict, please do not delete categories related to the deprecated content. Not all visitors have access to all avenues of updates, including current books, and those categories primarily serve to help visitors discover content.

Use the {{Conflict}} template in accordance with the canon policy to note when a creature's stats or information have changed in a way that results in a direct conflict, or when a Paizo staff member explicitly describes an older mechanical description as invalid.

Unsure about categories?

If you have written an article and are unsure about which categories to apply, or simply want your categories double checked, add Category:Please check categories by including this text at the bottom of your article in this format:

[[Category:Please check categories]]

This flags to others that the article's categories need checking or adding. We hope that, soon thereafter, another wiki member will be along to help.