We just started up Monsterburg recently so a quick intro to the group. Charles is our GM and I’ll be playing (so avoiding reading any of the above to stay away from spoilers!) but acting as a co-GM mainly in the capacity of helping out with rules look-ups and contextual/historical assistance (only because I’m more familiar with historical combat and some of the historical framework, so I don’t know what’s in the Monsterburg book). We are an older group of gamers, except for one Millennial, who almost all cut our teeth on original 1st Edition AD&D in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s essentially house-ruling the daylights out of it. We’ve all played a very wide variety of RPGs, although these days the “go-to” system tends to be Savage Worlds but we have been enjoying some things that are more narrative/lighter rules systems lately (FATE accelerated, some Powered by the Apocalypse games, Godbound, that kind of thing). 3.5e was mostly avoided by the group, though, and we did play a 4e game and universally despised it. We do have a 5e game starting up very soon and the group tends to like that system so far so we may be using it as the underlying rules system to work with Codex for most of the RPG elements. We play a wide variety of settings as well, so lots of sci-fi, superheroes (or villains!), among many others besides just fantasy.
On to Monsterburg… Session one was a little rocky, mostly because we got started a little later than usual and Charles, in an effort to get the group moving, read the shorter intro rather than the player intro, so as we were moving along folks had lots of questions about the “tie that binds” this group of characters together and where we were going. Largely the group just made up the pretext that we were heading to Monsterburg to join a military campaign, rather than the actual pretext of getting away from the campaign we just get stuck in! We’ll fix that in the next session, though. It didn’t help that we also didn’t have our character info sheets printed out, only the character sheets, and those info sheets are pretty useful as well, so I definitely recommend folks have both ready for their players for when they pick the characters they are interested in. We did get them passed out later, after the game, though. I might also suggest putting the “Private Bio” section (or any pieces that shouldn’t necessarily be for all players to be able to know) of those at the very bottom of the info pages or at least move the Fighting Tactics section up above it since that’s useful info when picking a character. We printed out those sheets and folded them at the Private Bio section so people wouldn’t see that part when making their choices later which put things like those tactics below the fold and, thus, not available for review for them.
The crew started out standing in line to get into Teschen with 2 guards checking in heavy arms and armor at the gate and a monk with them handling some translation and paperwork duties, but doing so very diligently and slowing things down. One of the group suggested we offer to help but I noted that we probably wouldn’t be able to do much considering other folks were having to take time to get their armor off anyway. So we decided to just patiently waited our turn. A couple of the group had the Pronouncement allowing them to get in with their arms, but one of the group playing Nils Polheim (who changed the name to Niles Freeman… the player was REALLY, and I mean REALLY, annoyed with having to deal with things like German names he felt he had no clue how to pronounce) decided he would declare that he was a “free man” and didn’t have to hand over his arms or anything, essentially saying he was following one of the folks with a pronouncement and saying “I’m with him”, which the guards weren’t buying. I made the mistake of trying to provide the historical context of saying his trying to get in like that would be akin to walking to City Hall with a holstered pistol and somehow expecting them to let you in with it, but he got upset by that enough that even after when we suggested seeing if he had any skills like forgery or bluff or something to get in he just kind of gave up on it in a huff instead. That’s not so much a module problem, though, rather a player maybe having a bad day being upset that things weren’t following his preconceived notions or just having some issues with lots of intimidating words in a foreign language on a character sheet or something. Not following standard fantasy fare, if you will (after all it was common back in the day that if a GM did something to make you give up your weapons in town it was likely because they wanted to screw your characters over by their not having weapons!), so I blame it on a player not really ready to embrace an historical setting game more than anything else, I think.
We did have some issues dealing with not only the money (same player got ticked off by having to use a term like “Kreuzer” and not just using terms like “silver pieces” instead, go figure) but also economic stuff in general, like figuring out if one of the players with nobility wanted to get a room at an inn, instead of an hospoda, if there was enough room at a single room for the rest of the party. We just decided there was. Our GM also noticed the costs were not listed in the module, but those are listed in Codex Martialis so I just looked them up there for him. Having them handy in the module might be useful, though.
Also without the intro the group wasn’t fully aware of what we might want to get at the market or anything like that, it was just winging it without a really good sense of direction, but largely, after all of the extra hubbub around getting in and figuring out what was what at the inn (and some of the players adding color commentary about peasants covered in muck and the like… which I completely blame Hollywood for putting that image into their heads… with all of the other distractions we had going I didn’t really bother trying to dissuade them of that notion) we’d pretty much used up our time for the night, so we largely got almost nowhere in the scenario but hopefully we’ll have less distractions and be a little better focused next game.