Codex Adventum: Road to Monsterberg Beta Test

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    Hans Hellinger

    Yeah mea culpa in the jean thing,
    My plan is to do this play through for experience and record a second play through for marketing.

    Yeah no worries on the name, that is just one of those artifacts of communicating 90% by typing online and not talking in person. It’s like my many awful mispronunciations of European names and words.

    I think once we have done 2 or 3 more sessions and y’all are more familiar with the system, we ought to be able to record some combat which runs pretty smoothly, and that could be a big help with codex. Videos of play-throughs are very popular right now and watching people use Codex rules for a fight will help explain it a million times faster and better than I can or even than reviews can.

    Speaking of which, Monsterberg, Quick Start and Superno all still need reviews. Neither of you two should write any, because you are a little too close to the development of this, but if you know other people who might write a review, let me know.

    Same for Twitch groups who run games – I don’t know any or even channels to look at. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

    Possibly with a roll20 adventure that you can buy.

    Yeah, I’d love to hear more about how this works. Your current Roll20 mod does not seem to be sharable (I’m assuming) because you so far seem to mainly just invite people into the one you are using for your playtest group. How do you make it more ‘generic’ or whatever so you can share it to the public?

    Hans Hellinger

    Ok so, notes on the last session for Playtest Group 4. Jack, please share this with your group.

    Jack having spent a week working on FOV every night was required to focus his attention on more important matters than gaming, and therefore was unavailable. So Sam ran the session as a “Session Zero” – meaning an opportunity for his guys to familiarize themselves with the combat rules.

    To do this, they did a kind of Battle Royal between Nils, Johann, and Kalina, with Kunes coming in at the end to finish things off. I was invited to jump into the Discord session towards the end of this so I listened to part of it and gave some (somewhat garbled) advice in real time.

    The result was that Johannes, who was a good defensive fighter, well armored and equipped with a ‘mini pavise’ shield, was able to fend off both Nils and Kalina and eventually killed Nils, but not before Nils destroyed his shield. Johannes was also fairly seriously wounded. Apparently there had been an exchange of gunfire before I arrived to the game.

    Then Kunes entered the fray with his montante sword and killed the now shieldless Johannes with a bypass attack which brought him below 0 HP. We rolled on the catastrophic damage table just for fun, which indicated a severed lower leg.

    Comments – points of confusion (hopefully) clarified

    One thing that happened before I got there was that Nils destroyed Johannes shield with his boar spear. He apparently did a multi-dice attack, attempting bypass, and rolled a Crit (natural 20). Problem was, even with the natural 20 he didn’t have enough of a bonus to hit with a bypass, so they ruled it as him destroying the shield. This is fine, because ‘common sense’ is rule 0 for codex. But it could have also been done another way…

    A Critical Hit
    Codex rules state that a natural 20 is always a hit. The only possible exception is if the defender also rolls a natural 20 but we can skip that for now. Question is, does it count as a bypass? I would say no. But it’s a multi-die attack, resulting in a Critical, which means it does extra damage – one extra dice per die thrown into the attack. So if say, it was a 2 dice thrusting attack with Nils boar spear, it would be D8+2 (normal damage) + 2d6 piercing crit damage. Also, the spear has +1 AP, reducing the protection of the armor by 1. So this means between 5-22 damage, vs. armor of 7. This may well be enough to seriously hurt Johannes in spite of his armor, (or to damage his shield. But in the latter case the shield has to be targeted).

    Attacking shields – shields can be destroyed, but they have a DR (like an armor value) and a lot of hit points. The type Johannes had was a ‘Mini Pavise’ which is listed in the system as having a hardness of 6 and 8 HP. Somewhat hard to break but not impossible, the best method may be to make multiple single-die attacks. Anything over 6 damage will hurt the shield so big weapons are best for this.

    Johannes high Defensive value – The character sheet only showed the defensive values (active and passive) with the shield, so when he lost it this was another point of confusion. The shield is worth 4 points to both Active and Passive Defense. Once it was gone both his passive and active defense should go down by 4. I think we left this off due to space limitations on the character sheet but I’ll amend the sheet to show two values. Shields also always grant a Free Dice on every Active Defense roll, something to keep in mind.

    So how do you deal with a badass?
    Johannes, unlike Nils and Kalina, is a professional soldier, so he is a hard nut to crack. Taking apart his defenses such as by neutralizing his shield is a good idea, but there is a larger principal to keep in mind. The Martial Pool, your dice pool, limits how many things you can do in a turn. Special Feats may enhance this, but basically you will have no more than 4 actions per round – attacks, defense, movement, things like reloading, or attacks of opportunity.

    This latter part is especially significant. Once Johannes spends his pool, such as by fighting with one (or both) characters with Attacks or Active Defense die rolls, he is out of pool and can only use his Passive Defense. This gives his opponents a good opportunity to do something like grabbing his shield, or grappling him and using their combined strength to bring him down. This is often one of the best ways to deal with an armored or particularly skilled opponent in the Codex System.

    And it’s why being ganged up on is so dangerous in the Codex rules.

    Grappling from a distance
    In addition, Nils had another option – Grappling from a distance. Any weapon with a grapple bonus (like Nils’ boar spear) can be used to make grapple attacks while still at Onset or Melee range. A hit means you can initiate a grapple, essentially a contested strength check, and success can mean for example that you strip away or temporarily neutralize your opponents weapon, including a shield.

    Anyway, overall I think the fighting went well and seemed to go more smoothly than it did in the first session. I hope this commentary is helpful and / or amusing!


    Oh there’s room. I’ll try to avoid watching/reading too much here so as not to spoil the campaign for myself. ­čśë

    Hans Hellinger

    I just got a notice, I think Charles’ books may arrive today. He may need Monsterberg printed out though, we don’t have a (print on demand ready) cover for it yet. Do they still have Kinkos?


    I don’t know about Kinkos but there is a FedEx copy shop on Vets we can use. Send it to me and I’ll pay for and try to get that taken care of for him

    Hans Hellinger

    Thanks Lenny. Lets give it a day or two though, looks like Sam made a back cover so I may have a print ready version sooner than I thought. Stand by!


    Second Playtest done. I wanted to get things a bit more solid before i moved on.
    Two players couldn’t make it.

    The party got along the road to the Inn. I gave the players some chance to entertain themselves on the road. Nils went and hunted a deer. I’m coming to terms with the plethora of skills on the sheets. I have them create a narrative and roll for every skill the narrative uses and if any of them is over 20 with modifiers it gives them a extra dice on the next roll.

    Nils first hunted a duck because he couldn’t find a deer. Then he tried again and left a sacrifice for the fairies with the duck blood and he saw a deer. He doesn’t manage to sneak up on it silently, but gets a shot off as it makes a break for it. He rolled a 20 and hit for 16 damage. The deer was a small one so only had 10 hitpoints. I gave Nils a point of exhaustion for catching up to the party carrying a deer.

    They came upon the Inn where some peasants were having a wedding and there was a wrestling contest, at first Nils couldn’t be convinced to join. He tried to swindle the groom into buying the deer as potion to increase his virility. This attempt fell flat on it’s face. Johann in the meantime was getting the wrestlers even more drunk. Nils was eventually convinced to wrest and won the contest. Not hundred percent sure we did all the wrestling right but it worked.

    After that I had them to watch duty on Lothar’s cart where they got attacked by Silesian bandits. The macros worked a treat. I think I’m still not great on how initiative interacts with multiple players and spears. Reach bonus should affect initiative in combat but what about multiple fighters and when they aren’t in fight range yet?

    The bandits threw a javelin and wounded Hans. Johann then blew is head off. The fight went pretty quickly especially as the Bandits don’t have any feats on foot. NPC feats are tricky to remember for me. I think it’ll come with time though.

    Overall a fun game and getting into the swing of things.

    Hans Hellinger

    Great stuff Jack. I added a horse race to the first episode in the last Monsterberg update. Hunting and wrestling contest also sound great. How you are using the skills seems good, I just let them roll any skill check that seems applicable. They intentionally overlap a bit.

    Hans Hellinger

    On initative bonus for spears – generally only the person with the highest reach bonus OR missile weapon ‘To Hit’ bonus gets a free dice on initiative. Everyone else just gets their regular bonus. And remember, typically we just roll initiative for everybody once and then put everyone in order. But of course with the spear they gain a big bonus ‘To Hit’ at onset range.

    Hans Hellinger

    There are also some feats which can change the initiative order during fights…


    Yeah I guess it throws me as my instinct is that in onset the character with the higher reach bonus should always get first action.

    Hans Hellinger

    You can always give everybody with a polearm a Free Dice on their init roll (or anybody with a reach bonus or missile attack bonus above +6 say)

    Generally I err on the side of swiftness and speed of gameplay rather than include every possible detail, but I don’t think that would be too hard or complicated to implement. Best rule of thumb is start simple, and then once the players are up to speed and start asking questions, you can start to layer in the nuances.

    Hans Hellinger

    Lenny I sent Charles printed copies of all the books including the campaign module book.

    Hans Hellinger

    Apparently playtest group 1 had their first session last night, hope to hear details later today.


    On Tuesday night I ran a session zero for our group.

    I focused on framing the campaign expectations with regard to a low magic historical campaign vs the typical sword & sorcery gonzo campaigns my group is used to.

    We also ran through melee combat, pitting two of the pre-generated characters, Wulf and Johannes against each other.

    Very quickly the players began to develop tactics specific to their characters weapons, armor and feats.

    The group had great fun and was excited for future play, their only concerns were some minor discrepancies between the pre-generated characters equipment lists vs the characters background description, some of the characters having feats without also having the necessary pre-requisite feats, and the length of combat encounters.

    I believe the last issue will be resolved with continue play once the learning curve of the system is overcome. The information is heavily frontloaded if you’re coming in blind from a base D&D system like 3.5 & 5e The HEMAists in the group (all, but one) took particular delight in the KDF feats.

    I’ve created a Observations-Corrections-and-Suggestion channel on discord to encourage them to record their impressions as we proceed.

    We will be recording and potentially twitch streaming session 1.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Hans Hellinger.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by WayneHeinz.
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