Monsters after Dark - Late-night Monster of the Week (PbtA) campaign

(TL;DR: Trying to find if there is interest in players being available starting 10pm Pacific time (-8 UTC, so 6am UTC, 1am Eastern, etc) on any weekday or weekend, depending on what works for any interested ... after looking for a running group and finding none, I'm looking to DM/GM/run instead to reduce that barrier of entry - my initial thought is trying out Monster of the Week, no experience needed by players, but if we get an established group, we could potentially shift to any system as desired)

Edit: Useful details:
Roll20 game join link:

Committed Players:
(open slot)

I say campaign loosely, could be a series of one-offs like the Fiasco games that GWJ members occasionally run.

Basically, I've been looking at various games based on the Powered by the Apocalypse framework, and a number of them seem like they'd be a lot of fun. I've run games in D&D 4E, AD&D 2-3.5, etc, and some Roll20 and Shadowrun based games, but have been interested by the PbtA framework since I got tipped off to it from the GWJ RPG podcasts and some forum discussion. Monster of the Week looks like a good entry point for a DM (er, keeper) who hasn't run any PotA before, but it seems easy enough to jump into with existing DMing experience.

I won't re-iterate the details I put into the TL;DR summary up top, but basically, with a family and kids, I'm really not available to game until after 10pm (Pacific, -8 UTC) any day of the week... unless I can eventually convince my wife to join in, at that point I might be able to get down to 9pm, but I am not holding my breath on that, and need a group I'm comfortable with before trying to expose her to the world of online table-topping

Right now I'm just gauging interest/availability, but a cool thing about MotW is it can work fine with from 2-8 players (including DM/Keeper), though the sweet spot looks to be 3-5.

I'll leave it at this for now just to test the waters, but can answer questions or add details as they come. Oh, first question I imagine might be where to play, and I haven't looked at tools, but there are a lot of fairly functional options... probably , though Fantasy Grounds or Tabletop simulator might be options (FG I own and can invite players at no cost, TTS requires ownership but is crazy flexible), and other options I haven't used probably exist that may be better. Basically, nothing in stone yet except the minimum start time.

So... anyone out there still awake now?

I've been looking for a monster of the week campaign ever since I played a one shot of it a few months back. I'm also on Pacific time. I'd probably have to keep it to weekends though unless everyone is in pst.

Kazooka, so to be clear, you'd be available Fri/Sat nights starting post-10pm Pacific? I have a feeling more people would be available on weekend nights, so that's a likely option.

Yeah, I could definitely do that. Especially now that the new job doesn't have me getting up quite as early.


Great, with 2 in I can start taking this seriously!

I still need to get my legs under me for how best to run this, but looking at, that looks like it will work all right. I think Tabletop simulator could have been a better implementation (they have a mod for MotW), but given a slightly higher barrier to entry, Roll20 should be fine.

I think that once we've locked in who is interested, I'd like to do an intro session that's basically a meet & greet, working through technical details (getting into Roll20, ensuring voice works, etc), and initial quick rules breakdown and then character creation. This will give me a slightly lower pressure chance to get everything in Roll20 setup, get a feel for group dynamics, and see what the team makeup looks like before planning out the mysteries. It also gives time for players and keeper to think about their characters and the world, come up with cool ideas, and keeps the first session from being crazy long.

I figure that first session will likely be shorter than typical, and may help us gauge as a group what we'd like typical length to be... given the late starting time, I figure these will probably be 1-3 hour sessions unless we get really into it, and may need to split mysteries into multiple sessions. Shouldn't be a problem other than potentially not wanting to wait a week to find out what happens next. Network TV has trained us to handle that, though, so we'll live.

First session could test out a desired timeslot, or we could try to do it outside the expected time if there is availability. As mentioned, I'm available pretty much any night of the week from 10pm - 4am or so (Pacific), I'm totally flexible within that hour range but very little flexibility outside of it.

To get a taste for the system and especially the character playbooks available (basically, classes), here are links to the free PDF versions of the manuals. It's probably worth throwing them $12 for digital or $25 for physical+digital versions of the full manuals. However, really, all you NEED to play is the free resources they provide here, as long as the keeper has the full manual.

Specifically, grab this to see a list of the hunter types:

And this for a hunter reference sheet detailing basic moves available to all hunters:

Things to think about:
Ideas for possible team concepts, and your own preferences for character playbook/concepts
Ideas for desired setting, time period, location, etc.

I could likely do some Friday/Saturday nights.

I'd be happy to help implement any assistance with Roll20. I'm interested in looking to see if there are for means for for fill character sheets we could make.

Not sure if you'll want to open it up to these, but there's a few more hunter classes (both official extras and fan made) on the Generic Games website:

MikeSands wrote:

but there's a few more hunter classes (both official extras and fan made)

I was thinking of opening it to any of those summarized in the revised versions playbook (that pretty much includes all those linked above), though I feel the original set is the best written and fleshed out, so as my first time running (and possibly players first time playing) it may be best to stick to those at first.

Some of them seem like they might work well, but something about the idea of having Scooby Doo (literally one of the models for the meddling kid playbook in all but name ) potentially eviscerated and consumed by my monsters hurts a part of my childhood.

JMnITup wrote:
MikeSands wrote:

but there's a few more hunter classes (both official extras and fan made)

I was thinking of opening it to any of those summarized in the revised versions playbook (that pretty much includes all those linked above), though I feel the original set is the best written and fleshed out, so as my first time running (and possibly players first time playing) it may be best to stick to those at first.

Some of them seem like they might work well

Yep, there's a reason that they are "extras".

The Hard-case and Snoop fit in to a regular game easily, but the Meddling Kid adds a lot of craziness, and the Exile and Summoned will both bring a lot of baggage into your world. Reid San Filippo's hunters are good too but very specific concepts.

but something about the idea of having Scooby Doo (literally one of the models for the meddling kid playbook in all but name ) potentially eviscerated and consumed by my monsters hurts a part of my childhood. :)

Haha, that's perfectly understandable!

Amoebic wrote:

I'd be happy to help implement any assistance with Roll20. I'm interested in looking to see if there are for means for for fill character sheets we could make.

There's a Monster of the Week github template for character sheets out of the box in Roll20. I'm not 100% satisfied with it, but it looks functional and accurate, so at least short-term that one will probably work. I could see myself forking it and updating to be a little more the way I'd like to see it, but short-term it looks quite functional. That said, I'm also always up for any help with setup/prep/hints, etc. I have a test game I've already created, I can send invites for that to start prepping the tech side

I am in. Most nights post 10pm I am free with the occasional night where hockey schedules an 11:15pm game.

Ok, I created a roll20 game, easiest way to invite I guess is to post the link here. I don't expect a flood of people, but if for some reason that doesn't work out, I can recreate a new link later. Those able to make the 10pm+ time slot, feel free to join, we can work out actual participation and days either here or within.

Were you going to do a full session tonight or a session 0? I've got surprise baby sitting, so I'll be a few minutes late either way.

I hadn’t actually set an official date/time for start, I was thinking next Saturday, but was hoping to get 1 more player saying they were in. I’d like 4 players, right now I have Amoebic, Kazar, and kazooka as “in” with J.C. and MikeSands showing potential interest but no actual commit yet. We can definitely make it work with 3, though (even just 1 or 2 if we had to).

Also, tonight I probably won’t be available until 11 (an hour later). I wouldn’t be against doing the shorter intro session late tonight, at the least see if there is any general consensus or ideas on setting, team concept, etc, but if we do full a 4th player seat, I’d definitely prefer they were part of that. We can always work in a 4th or 5th later, just nice if someone is joining this early if they are part of that intro.

Oh, JMnlTup, I don't think I can actually play... I was just chiming in due to my prior interest in Monster of the Week

I wouldn't mind joining you in theory, but I'm pretty busy right now. That said I see that NZ time for that slot is currently 3 hours earlier but on the next day. Perhaps I can fit in a guest appearance some time?

Yeah, I figured you were just commenting and not expressing ability to join... no problem, just wanted to be clear on what I knew so far.

Ok, @amoebic, @kazar, @kazooka (I wish there was an actual way to tag individuals, if I don't get a response here I'll follow up in another way), and the mysterious 4th person just waiting to make an entrance (you know who you are! ... I wish I did. :

How does next Saturday (March 3, 10pm PST (-8UTC, so 6am UTC) work for all of you? We can schedule our initial meet then, if it works for you all. If you know of another who would like to join, please feel free to point them here or towards me or the Roll20 link ( ). Again, I think ideally I'd like 4 players, but anything 3-5 will work out fine. I'll ask my wife if she would want to fill a spot, but I have a feeling I know the answer already.

Also, the first meet-up will probably not be an actual session, it will probably be more character and world creation and ironing out any technical comms details. If there is a time ahead of that we could all meet up to do that early and have Saturday be a real session, let me know and we can work that out... alternatively, if we finish quickly enough Saturday, I could just wing it with what we have and see where that goes .

A couple other things.
1. Please join the Roll20 game linked above ahead of time, be sure you can start the game, etc.
2. We need to decide on the best way to communicate outside of sessions... we could a) use the Roll20 forums, b) start a Slack channel, c) we could just use this thread (I find that starts getting overwhelming and hard to follow), we could use a Twitch Messenger (i.e app formerly known as Curse), or any of the dozens of other options.
I lean towards b (slack), but I live in Slack so that may only be convenient for me. My 2nd choice would be the Roll20 game itself, it's forum notification seems to work well enough

3. We can discuss during session, but wanted to get an idea of your in-session comms preferences... I personally like running voice and video, I've gotten far better participation and group cohesion that way than just voice, but wanted to get other opinions ahead of time rather than making anyone uncomfortable on the spot, and won't force anything. I haven't used Roll20's built in yet, if it is good enough quality, that's an easy option, or we could use Twitch, Google Hangouts, etc... give me any thoughts or opinions.

4. Provide confirmation of the above (time, and if there is any desire to do a pre-session ahead of time)

5. Recruit player #4 ... or don't.

I'm excited to get started!

Small caveat. Normally every weekend I am available. But the March 3rd is one of the rare ones I am not. I am out of town from Friday afternoon til Sunday morning and have two Ice Hockey games Sunday night. I can meet another time to do the pre stuff, or maybe if you can give me a summary I can do it on my own.

(cross-posted to Roll20 forum and here):
Ok, so trying to figure out the best place to handle out-of-session communication... I posted to the GWJ forums (here), but I can't get them to send me notification and I'm not sure how often others read that, so I thought that either the Roll20 game forum or Slack might work well. In both cases, I'd need everyone to join whatever we use (I have Kazar and Amoebic in both already, but couldn't find Kazooka in Slack and he hasn't joined the Roll20 game yet, so not sure if Slack will work for him or not)

​I pro-actively created the #monsters-after-dark slack channel in the GWJ slack server in case that works out, and I've posted here. We could use either of these (whichever works out) to handle the current pre-session needs of discussing team concept, world preference, and any playbook preferences (the playbooks will be unique in the group, so just need to be sure there's no duplication, OR we discuss good reasons why we should bend that rule). We still need to do actual character creation together via voice at least, but early discussion will make that go faster.

​It's looking like first session might be March 9 or 10, since Kazar is away this weekend... if we have a chance to do a prelim-session before that, the first official session could be an actual mystery, otherwise it will just be character creation. If I can get a feel for your world preference and team build ahead of time, though, I COULD have a mystery prepared for that session that we could start on immediately following character creation. Or I could just do an ad lib mystery that first session as a last resort, but I'd prefer to have something prepared.

Oh, I'm here, just busy. Sorry. I'll join the channel when I'm home.

I don't know how everyone else feels, but I'd push for a setting where all the players are in high school.

High school... that cuts down some backstory options (though I guess not everyone needs to be in high school, or even students... could have a teacher by day, monster hunter by night situation), but provides obvious reasons you'd be acquainted, and gives some lighter pressures (well, less life threatening and more life influencing, though in situ they can feel life threatening!). I'm a couple decades out of high school, so my view of it is purely what I see on TV, so as long as you aren't turned off by that interpretation, it would be possible.

I'm curious why you'd like to see that, what role high school and high school life would have in the character's version of the world, etc. Other thoughts (about this core idea or other suggestions)?

It gives everyone a common setting and a shared sense of place. It's also an experience that almost every player has a strong connection to, and brings out interesting storylines because of that. It's also a touch lighter than a straight up Supernatural style monster adventure.

It's just a suggestion, but it's worked really well in the game I played.

I can go either way with whatever setting the Keeper of the current arc (JMnITup) wants to run.

If we want to do high school I'm cool with it as a setting or location, but I'm not sure I want to willingly limit character selection to being only a group of teenagers if it's not integral to the plot? (I mean, unless it's a selecting-from-a-stack-of-pre-mades situation with a need for that much railroading to fit a tighter timeline or story arc makes sense kind of thing).

If this is to be open ended, I'd prefer to set general details like universe, town, high magic or low magic or no magic, group types (cult? organization? fbi? bounty hunters? gang? monster vs monster? human vs monster? human vs human? etc et etc) and then work in finer details before start limiting what kind of characters people can choose to play.

I feel like day 1 should be world building into character creation. From that, Jm can either

1) Give us perimeters on what fits his campaign for us to work from, or
2) tell us yay or nay if some of our ideas or hopes fit any notions percolating in his brain for building the narrative arc for the game, or
3) use the information we meddle with on character creation day to build a narrative

just a few options, anyway. I guess what I'm trying to say that if we're looking for details regarding group collab, we should save it for the table during character creation.

I think I mostly wanted to a) get some inspiration on the first possible mysteries and arc, and b) not have to wait so long to actually play. I can be very patient, but I don't LIKE to be.

As Amoebic, my only real hesitation with a high school based setting is the apparent limitations it puts on character type/background. That would probably be fun for one-offs, but for a more open campaign I'd want players to be less limited in their options. However, as I thought through that, I realized it didn't FORCE everyone to play a teen student, and even if it did, nothing says we can't take some liberties with how possible it might be for a high schooler to be part of some secret society, a young government agent, etc. It worked for Buffy.

That said, I like challenges, so I'm totally fine with having to run a campaign that challenges me a bit or takes me a little out of my comfort zone (not that a high school setting is really anything crazy, I've just never done it). As mentioned, I mostly just wanted to get a head start on planning, and even the idea presented gave me some ideas that bore fruit, and I now have a pretty good foundation that will work in almost any current-world circumstance, whether based from high school or out of town mercenary/govt group, or anything in between.

I agree with what Amoebic said (and what I previously said before I started prodding for early details), we should use the first meet to plan out characters and world as a group, and what I've started putting together will survive (with a little tweaking) whatever wrenches you all throw at me. I'm just champing at the bit. Still, the conversation was useful to get me thinking, so thanks!

I never really got any confirmations, but haven’t heard any “can’t make it”s either, so just a reminder, tonight (Saturday), 10PM Pacific (1am Eastern, 6am UTC) we will meet in Roll20.

Will be there with bells on!

I'll be there!

OMG SO GOOD. I'm so excited. This was amazing and I love all of our characters.