The Monster Codex

Approximate time to read: 3 minutes.   

If you have been out treasure-seeking in the depths of Davokar or knee-deep in the festering antiquities of a Symbaroum dungeon, you might have missed the current Symbaroum Kickstarter for the Monster Codex.

Correct that mistake immediately!

You have only four-days left to get your pledge in and reap the rewards. I regret never getting in on Symbaroum from the first crowd-funding effort in late 2015. I considered it, pondered it, paused and considered – and it slipped by me.

I will not make that mistake again.


To my mind, the Symbaroum Monster Codex is the supplement that has been sought after for the longest by those already playing the game. While other games offer a manual of monsters and beasts, Symbaroum‘s Core Book had but a selection of the creatures that lurk in the twisted and corrupted shadows of the great forest.

While sites like The Iron Pact have offered up the likes of the Gnarl, the Snow Jackal, and the Entombed – amongst so many others – the official Monster Codex will bring monsters and foulness from the canon at the heart of the Jarnringen team.

Not only do you get more monsters, but each will potentially have multiple stat blocks (as they age, evolve or transform), location information, adventure hooks, and artefacts associated with them. Two new monster categories (Phenomenon and Flora) and more than twenty monstrous traits means not only an expanded potential for off-the-page encounters, but also official mechanics you can use to expand your own menagerie of the corrupt and abominable.

In addition, with 1,000 backers (a target so close I can almost touch it as of time of typing) the team will provide guidelines on how to balance the resistance for your treasure hunting party. Aside from the competence level of the characters, this will take account of things like types of environment, ability profiles and combat strategies will be part of the design palette. This is something that The Iron Pact has also referenced in the past – right from some of the earliest articles – but, here you’ll have half-a-dozen pages or more of new guidelines.

Adventure Landscape

Image (c) 2013 by penfan

At the current level of funding, three new adventure landscapes await. Grey Wade Crossing, which came with the Kickstarter rewards for The Witch Hammer, provides a fantastic example of the adventure landscape format. A 4-page pamphlet recounting the history of the place along with a brief detail of the location, along with key individuals and three adventure hooks.

In the midst of the sweeping strokes of the broader campaign path, the adventure landscape format provides an ideal means to fill in the gaps inbetween. Again, like the monsters, smaller adventures have been in great demand. On Google+, Reddit and Facebook, I have seen requests, time again, for filler ideas – new GMs searching for ways to fill the gaps that lie between. A good example would be the trip between The Promised Land and Mark of the Beast – a journey of more than 100 miles that the GM can do with as they wish. Grab a landscape and use it to do just that – even if you need to tweak the actual location or a few of the finer details.

If the campaign hits 800,000 SEK, you get a new scenario setup with every bestiary entry in Section I, and at 900,000 SEK, you have 20 new ruins mapped out with associated ruins. It’s like the gift that keep on giving for the GM new to Symbaroum, as you won’t have to look far for anything from a small encounter with a few wild beasts to a small site to engage a group of treasure-seekers for a whole session.

Art and the Dice Tray

The thing that drew me into the world of Symbaroum was the fantastic art. Talking with people at conventions, that comes up time and again as the detail that tipped new gamers into picking up the Core Book. The Monster Codex will have more artwork – and some of that new art will appear on the Dice Tray, from All Rolled Up, that goes to all backers of physical product when the campaign hits 1,000,000 SEK.

Of course, all that other art makes for a richer gaming experience – and the Codex will provide a great show-and-tell tool at the tabletop. I have often, wisely, decided to skip a description of a creature and found an image in the books instead. I can try to evoke the feel of Symbaroum with words alone, but the images do it so much better!

End of Days

You have scant days left to make your pledge for the Kickstarter of the Monster Codex.

You can grab the Monster Codex and stretch goals as PDFs for just 399 SEK (approx. $49, £37, €42), or physical copies plus PDFs for 549 SEK (approx $68, £52, €58).

If you haven’t sampled Symbaroum yet and want a way in with the “classic” trio of player, GM and monster handbooks, go for the Abomination Hunter – at 1049 SEK (approx. $130, £99, €110) to get the Core Book, Advanced Player’s Guide and the Monster Codex in print, plus stretch goals.


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