Reply To: Codex Adventum: Road to Monsterberg Beta Test

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This is an overall writeup from the POV of GM.

First of all if you are reading this as someone not playtesting the campaign keep in mind that running this I was sticking to the letter of the law for the adventure so that shaped a lot of it. Monsterberg has enough info to go off script if you need to and is very open to modding to taste.

I would definitely suggest a session 0 for combat and explaining the system, this is also a good opportunity to decide how you want to set how dense you want the rules and what your own version of Monsterberg will look like. This also gives you a chance to set expectations on “genre”, Monsterberg is not a marvel film, it’s more like Ocean’s 11 crossed with Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series. Where some systems don’t want you to preplan the operation and prep and let you go backwards and hand wave you have the thing you need or did the right thing that’s not how Monsterberg works. Monsterberg is about doing things “smart”, you prep, you evaluate risks and play the best strategy to get out alive. Minmaxing is encouraged to achieve this. If you don’t get this into your players you won’t get 100% out of Monsterberg.

I didn’t do any of this careful preplanning, I just went full speed ahead with no prep for the players seeing if I could ride this badboy into the dirt.
The results were pretty positive for the system, the players figured things out quickly and the result of some of the holes we found were very quickly addressed by Jean. If you are running a session talk to Jean about it, he hangs out here all the time.

We ran it in roll20, if you want to use the adventure we built just write me I’ll send it over. At first we built macros for the attacks etc. this worked really well but added a lot of time to our prep. personally I’m a bit of a free wheeler as a GM and once the npc sheets were updated and streamlined it was a lot easier to just run it as dicerolls.

I would suggest you run through with players how you can get more dice into attacks and into damage before the game and have a printoff sheet of these options. If you use them they will really add an element to the game. Anybody who has fired a rifle will know how much of a difference shooting prone on a bipod vs standing makes etc. I would also have a discussion with your players how much lethality you want in the system and adjust to meet it. Monsterberg is not ‘Lethal” system per se, neither is it a dnd slogfest.

My players took a while to adjust to this kind of inbetween damage system where things could take a few turns to die or just one depending on crits. For next time I would probably prepare a range of “damage results” to kind of tell the players whether it was an actually damaging wound or not.

If your players are uncomfortable with foreign languages make sure to name things for them to reduce their shyness, you can use google or wikipedia to find out how to pronounce things. it doesn’t really matter though nobody’s the Polish pronunciation police. But Monsterberg should feel a bit weird and foreign, it’s a weird and foreign place for the PCs too.

KEEP TRACK OF DAMAGE, MONEY, SUPPLIES REST ETC this is something that is pretty important to the Monsterberg vibe. Monsterberg this helps keep the players feel a bit more immersed and constantly problem solving and feeling grounded in the world and under threat, which is what Monsterberg is all about.