Investing In: a Fantasy Monster of the Week

Somehow more than a year has already passed since I wrote about Monster of the Week. It’s the Powered by the Apocalypse game from Evil Hat that has modern magic, monsters, and mysteries in the vein of Hellboy, Buffy, Charmed, or of course Supernatural. My friend Rich is still running a game of two groups that are now mingling to work together on cases that are increasingly dangerous. It’s a tremendously fun system and easy to utilize. That’s why when my friend Mike said he wanted a little roleplaying at his bachelor party, I offered not only to GM something but to adapt Monster of the Week in a fantasy vein for us to play!

Problem is, Monster of the Week is at least initially framed for a modern game with modern troubles, with various weapons like guns and a lot of verbiage around our present time and world. I figured the story can be whatever I want it to be. And what I wanted was to facilitate a Bachelor party for one of the heroes, basically whomever my friend Mike played. I’m a Lost Omens / Golarion fanatic so I knew my story would be based in Golarion. But they’d need characters. While some had D&D and others had Pathfinder experience, at least one person was new to tabletop and also I wanted something we could very quickly move through without reference materials, maps, and give us some ease of play.

How Do I Want To Do This?

I decided I’d premake character options by going through the various playbooks and pre-choosing options to align them with certain archetypes or classes. Names, pronouns, looks would be up to the players but at least they’d be ready with attributes, abilities, and weapons. I decided there’d be a devilish element to my story (which I’ll get to in a moment) so I wanted a good divine representation, let alone the newer player to TTRPGs was keen on being a cleric. I chose the obvious playbooks for a Cleric and Paladin, the Divine and Chosen respectively. The Divine would have Boss from Beyond to talk to their patron as well as Soothe (to calm others), Lay on Hands (to heal), and even Cast Out Evil (because devils). I gave each character one advance (to simulate a more experienced group) so that’d work well. They also had a thunder hammer, which easily could fit in the world of Golarion. The Chosen Paladin could make a Big Entrance and had Devastating damage. I let their special weapon have the holy trait (important later) and that they were fated for a heroic bit of Divine Help. Their doom? Why a nemesis of course…

A Rogue was necessary and I’m glad I put one together as that’s what our bachelor wanted to play! I turned the Crooked into a Rogue with a Burglar background. They had a Notorious reputation and a magical artifact for a bit of luck. The weapons are where it got tricky. I prechose a revolver and a shotgun and when we got started asked the player to think of some classic weapons for them to be in a medieval style. A throwing axe and heavy crossbow were his choices and I loved how he pulled them out of a hidden pocket or from beneath a table. I’m particularly proud of the transformation I made to the Constructed. I immediately thought of our Best Man taking on the character, and he did! The Constructed would be our Bard, healed by music and singing, loving a dance, and having a hidden weapon of a sonic bellowing attack! He wasn’t particularly charming, but he was tough and eager to protect and defend our party. He committed a few social faux pas out on the dance floor, but we all were laughing as he maneuvered through his literal doing the Robot as he was an awakened marble statue of course. It didn’t matter what the playbooks, abilities, or weapons were called after all; the mechanics guided our gaming and let it flow right into the story we were forming for a great time!

I won’t go over each playbook and the options I made but I thought I’d share which playbooks I used to simulate which archetype/class below. If you’re a fan of Devil Wears Prada (or that new Cruella movie) you’d have loved how my friend Eric turned the Monstrous undead set up I made into a truly devastating Dame with a bloody thirst! Here’s that listing of playbooks:

  • Chosen – Paladin
  • Crooked – Rogue
  • Divine – Cleric
  • Monstrous – Fae Druid
  • Monstrous – Undead (vampire)
  • Spell-Slinger – Sorcerer
  • Exile – Magus
  • Constructed – Bard
  • Wronged – Barbarian / Ranger

Back to Riddleport

As I said I knew my story would have to involve Golarion. The Bachelor and a few others were already familiar with the Lost Omens setting, and two players in particular are in my Expedition Coalition game. Do you recall where my campaign started? That’s right: Riddleport! Specifically, the Gold Goblin. What a better place for a Bachelor party than a gambling hall in a city that is quite accepting or loose morals and profitable vices! Have a drink, play some Ghoulette, meet Belatharus “the Pit Fiend” Pit manager, and entreat with some Succubi/Incubi dressed servers! How better to slip some devils into the monstrous mix then to have them hide in plain sight! It can’t all be fun and games after all; we need adventure!

I decided that there’d be a real Pit Fiend sewing some chaos on behalf of Cheliax in Riddleport. Having heard of Lavender Lil’s assistance to various heroes as well as the presence of this band on a bachelor party, how could they resist but finally make a move? I set up a basic outline to support my story:

  • Set Up – choose characters and explain the plot of the bachelor party
  • Introduction – have the group already checked in and get into drinks, games, food, and dancing
  • The Hook – a withered body of a cypher mage is found out back and Belatharus hopes the heroes will investigate
  • Rising Action 1 – either over time or with an MC reaction (mmm roll those failures!) I’d have another found in the privy stalls but with the added complication this is one of Overlord Cromarcky’s personal guard! Better get on that fast!
  • Rising Action 2 – ensure through investigation, magic, or talking to others the party knows a blond server was seen with the man. The heroes will probably know it’s some sort of vitality drain that killed them too!
  • Complication 1 – through investigation the party can find the server often visited the VIP section overlooking the main part of the Gold Goblin, but when they track the server down… they’re dead in a trunk at a dressing table in the back! What happened?
  • Rising Action 3 – Belatahrus is found barely clinging to life! Turns out some VIPs were just in this room for a meeting but they’re not here now
  • Conflict – confront the VIPs and reveal one is a Pit Fiend while a few others/servers are succubi / incubi! FIGHT!
  • Conclusion – celebration and thanks from Belatharus/Lavender/Cromarcky/etc.

Players Will Always Surprise You

Like a round of Ghoulette you never quite know how things will end up or how your players will surprise you. We never got to Complication 1 or Rising Action 3. My efficient, knowledgeable heroes quickly determine there was likely a fiend at play considering the first corpse was withered and drained, but not by a bite. The vampire PC made it very clear it wasn’t her and that the mage’s robes were “just dreadful.” They were looking for a devil and got drawn to the VIP section after that second corpse was found in the privy. Never wear perfume! Also, find a way to protect against divination. The Magus (using the Exile playbook) successfully used a Weird roll to do a bit of magic and see through illusion, triggering a combat with the real Pit Fiend and his cronies!

Here’s the stats I used for those monsters including a regeneration mechanic I added in case you’d like to use sometime:

  • -cubi Devils (4)
    • Armor 1 Physical
    • Health / 5
    • Regeneration 1 (holy prevents for a round)
    • Attacks
      • Charm: character rolls Cool
      • Energy drain: 2-harm close magic
      • Embrace energy drain: 4-harm hand magic
      • Claws: 1-harm close armor-piercing
  • Pit Fiend
    • Armor 2 physical, Armor 1 magical
    • Health / 12
    • Regeneration 2 (holy prevents for a round)
    • Energy Bolt: 2-harm far magic energy
      • 1-harm for multiple reactions in same round
    • Firestorm: 4-harm close area heavy loud energy
    • Claws: 3-harm hand heavy messy armor-piercing
    • Tail lash: 3-harm close armor-piercing

One thing I had forgotten was the Luck mechanic. I ended up limiting it to 3 uses per hero except the lucky Rogue Bachelor who could use as much as he wanted. It made for a lot of success, but some very entertaining big wins and really, that’s what this was all about. It was a tremendous amount of fun adapting Monster of the Week for a fantasy game. I do love that gaming has kept us engaged during the pandemic but I was truly thrilled to be playing a game in person again with a large group. Get vaccinated if you can, which protects those who can’t!

Do let me know what other games you’ve adapted for other settings or uses! I highly suggest you invest your time doing so as it’s a great way to challenge your improv skills and engage your friends! Let me know if you try Monster of the Week and specifically some of the details I’ve laid out above. You can be certain it’s not the last you’ve heard of adventure at the Gold Goblin!

Investing In:

I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!

I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!

Sources

Banner Sci-Fi vs. Fantasy, Creative Commons Attribution, DaniLovesFood

  1. Monster of the Week banner, Evil Hat Productions
  2. Divine playbook image, Monster of the Week, Evil Hat Productions
  3. Crooked playbook image, Monster of the Week, Evil Hat Productions
  4. Ghoulette, Second Darkness: Shadow in the Sky, Paizo
  5. Exile playbook image, Monster of the Week, Evil Hat Productions

Rob Pontious

Rob Pontious works in web commerce by day and is a writer for KnowDirectionPodcast.com's #InvestingIn, a player for Roll for Combat's #ThreeRingAdventure podcast, and also a player for GehennaGaming's #GehennaValley MonsterHearts2 twitch stream. He's a lover of TTRPGs for over three decades, a gamer, and a GAYMER. You can find him on social media as @silentinfinity.