Reply To: Codex Adventum: Road to Monsterberg Beta Test

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Full disclosure I was playtester for the Monsterberg Adventure.

When I ran it I was playtesting it according to the letter of the book, which is great but not necessarily how it’s meant to be run. Monsterberg is more a toolbox that gives the GM loads of options. The biggest plus of the adventure is definitely Jean, he is always easy to talk about the setting and easy to reach over the forum.

Monsterberg is what I refer to as historical +, so everything is beautifully researched but with historical fantasy elements, so there’s magic, but magic the way they thought it worked.

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.

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, it’s more a question of preference. If you want details on how to add macros for attacks in roll20 just check the Codex Integrum forum where’s there’s a guide with the code already added.

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 in-between 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.

to recap. If you are looking for a hyper realistic setting with easy tools that can you can adjust to your needs then Monsterberg is it.