Add these variant monsters to your campaign with alternate traits and actions, or outfit your characters with new spells and items inspired by the monsters. Either way, prepare for adventure, choosing from a slew of adventure hooks!
Grim Hollow: The Monster Grimoire [PDF] has covered all of your needs; more than just monsters, this book also contains a variety of player facing content to immerse characters into a dark setting: terrible familiars, twisted sidekicks, salvage mechanics and more!
The Symbaroum Monster Codex makes the settlements, woods and vales of the Davokar region more dangerous than ever before! More than a hundred creatures, monsters and abominations are crammed together between these covers - some of them well-known, others only mentioned in legends and fairy tales; some unstoppably hungry, others open to negotiations; some presented in detail, others with only short descriptions. Combined with the guidelines on how to create creatures of your own, the content of this bestiary should provide material for hundreds of hours at the gaming table!
Monsters & Adversaries is a 40-page section tackling six different organisations or broad categories of adversaries and five different regions each with its own beasts and monsters. Organisations include the Champions of Prios, Ordo Magica, the Lords of Ambria, amongst others, with entries like Experienced Templar, Panzer Alchemist (!), Squire, and Monster Hunter. Each entry is no longer than a paragraph and a table of stats. Expect from four to nine entries per organization or broad category. Beasts & Monsters are broken down under the same logic. The regions covered are Bright and Dark Davokar, Lakes & Rivers, the Mountains, and the Underworld. The presentation is identical to that of the adversaries. Expect from six to thirteen entries, depending on the region.
Rules & Guidelines is comprised of the book's last 27 pages. It tackles monsters through a classification of six different categories (abominations, beasts, cultural beings, flora, phenomena and undead), 37 new Monstrous traits like Devour and Paralyzing Venom (with the tables indexing all traits, including those found in the Symbaroum Core Rulebook), as well as one page on disease in Symbaroum. It then goes through four pages of monster creation for those willing to add their own touch to the world. The mini-chapter feels less like a strict process and more like advice and suggestions to follow, covering issues like active and passive abilities, supplements (think weapons and armor), tactics, the creation's shadow and many more. Balanced Combat Resistance is another 4-page mini-chapter with a more detailed model on designing combat challenges to the one found in the Core Rulebook. The last page is devoted to preset encounters for four different levels of characters: beginners, experienced, veterans and heroes. The Monster Chronicle is the third and final 4-page mini-chapter that turns monsters into a lure for campaigns based around monster-hunting. It covers things like types of monster hunting, trophies, occult problem solving etc.
The strong points: I am surprised by how long it took for the Symbaroum game line to put out a book about the setting's monsters. In my eyes, that should have been one of the first volumes to hit the market, seeing how dark and malevolent the game world is, and how it relies not on classes upon classes of creatures, but upon ad hoc monstrosities which are created at whim due to the land's never-ending corruption. In any event, the book is now here, and I am pleased by it. It rightfully opts to extensively present a couple of dozen creatures as opposed to hundreds of them, and instead give the tools (and the attitude) for the GM to try his own hand at populating the world. I appreciated how the book does not rest upon the concept of monsters-for-the-sake-of-it, but tries to tie them to the setting by giving ideas for adventures and campaigns centered around monster-hunting. Don't expect fully-fledged scenarios or anything of the sort, there is however enough meat there to make a creative GM think. Some entries focus more on the tactics, while others relate more to the setup they will be encountered in. In some cases there is more fluff, while others contain rules and setting information that can be used outside of any monster-related background.
The weak points: Symbaroum as a line has a rather fast and loose approach when it comes to distinguishing between fluff and crunch. The Monster Codex is no exception. This is not necessarily a bad thing, until the point the GM is pressed for time and would have liked a more framed approach to things like monster creation or the conceptualization of a campaign centered around monsters. This is not a biggie, unless you allow it to become one and search for ready-made solutions where ones don't exist. No matter the add-ons and the advice to incorporate monsters into campaigns, a GM still needs to do his homework well in advance.
My favourite monster book of all time contains to be the Hacklopedia of Beasts for the Hackmaster 5th edition, and there are many reasons for that. One is that each beast is shown next to an adventurer in order to gauge the size of the creature. Secondly, the narratives are long, focus mostly on the creatures (as opposed to the characters encountering the creatures or the circumstances under which they meet), while also presenting their usual habitats in a rather easy-going visual way. Showcasing how the monster participates in the economy of the setting (i.e. what is one likely to keep from an animal after it has been slain) is just the icing on the cake. Some, but not all of these, happen here. The fluff doesn't necessarily contain key-words or phrases that can be immediately picked by the GM and used as is. The descriptions are mostly GM-oriented, as opposed to character-oriented. This imposes an extra obstacle for the GM to overcome in order to adequately present Symbaroum's intrinsic, visceral horror to his players. Take the Night Swarmers as an example: great art, some cool fluff that the GM will enjoy, are there however keywords or phrases that he can copy-paste and use as is in his game? No, there are none whatsoever. Literally, the only text describing the entities in a four-page entry (!) is 'they are not very impressive, barely the height of a human palm and thin as splinters'. You'd better start making things up fast.
Conclusion: The Symbaroum Monster Codex is a book that had been missing from the eponymous line. It's messy at times; the concepts behind the entries could have been better elaborated to provide even more content, and old art shouldn't have made yet another appearance. At the end of the day however the book comes out as good, since it doesn't focus on the monsters per se, but on how to use them in the dark, cold, and unforgiving world.
Tabletop fans have most likely heard of Evil Hat Productions' Monster of the Week. As the name implies, this urban fantasy TTRPG lets players explore a version of our world where monsters roam, traveling from place to place and protecting people from what lies in the dark. The game uses the award-winning Powered by the Apocalypse system, drawing heavy inspiration from various horror films, both modern and classic, and the TV series Supernatural. Now, a new crowdfunding campaign for a new expansion to the game, Codex of Worlds, has gone live. It was fully funded one hour later.
According to the official Backerkit campaign, Codex of Worlds adds over 400 pages of new material for both players and keepers to Monster of the Week. The book contains new allies, moves, and 15 new Team Playbooks. Highlights include the self-explanatory Interdimensional Crisis Team and the Last Survivors: A group made up of those who escaped monster attacks in the past. As for Keepers, five brand-new setting frameworks are included. These include the Witcher-esque Monster Marches, the terror of the 19th century found in the apt Gothic Century, and Bone Spear: a land of monsters set during the Stone Age. The campaign also includes several stretch goals which include an ePub version of the books and a prewritten mystery, The Broken Door written by co-creator Michael Sands.
I've done most general layout work using Galiphile's template for SW5E, along with descriptions (usually, mostly from Wookipedia) and all Lair information. The specific monster blocks were created or inspired by those listed below (often with modifications from me, and often with collaboration on the discord). If I've missed anyone or gotten something wrong, please let me know. I'll keep this page updated even as things move into the official Scum & Villainy guide. Also, Cudo's to OffWorldHero for doing a lot of the art cut-outs to make this book look so good.
The Mnggal-Mnggal Zombie targets a living creature that it is grappling or unconscious and attempts to infect it with its ooze. The target creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw (DC equals 8 + the zombie's constitution modifier + the monster's proficiency bonus). On a failed save, the target creature becomes Poisoned. Creature's poisoned in this way take poison damage corresponding to the size of the zombie at the start of their turn. This damage ignores resistance and immunity. A creature reduced to 0 hitpoints by this damage is killed instantly, and rises the next round as a Mnggal-Mnggal zombie. Creatures can repeat this saving throw at the end of their turn. A creature that has successfully saved is immune to this ability for 24 hours.
This section contains four sets of tables. The Table of Racial Starting Statistics lists each race's and gender's default starting attributes. The Character Class Level Advancement Table lists the experience points required for each class or sub-class to advance to the next level, up to level 20. The Bestiary Attributes Table lists the attributes of each monster. Finally, the Monster Hit-Point/Experience Point Table lists the damage, experience, health, and XP/HP of each monster. The section also contains a "Special note on Jagar Tharn", detailing his abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. 59ce067264