On the Shoulders of Dwarves
Monsters Bracket Night (Episode 90)
A while back Uri came across a twitter post about “Bracket Night”. The idea of a bracket night is that you select 16 items of a specific topic and divide them into brackets, pitting one against the other and have a discussion about “which is the best”. This is determined by a discussion followed by a vote.
So Uri immediately gathered 10 veteran GMs and had a bracket night to find the best monster.
You can read a [play by play description](https://naimmeod.com/2020/02/02/the-gms-bracket-what-is-the-best-monster/) but that's not what we wanted to talk about. I want to talk about the reason behind having such a night. Unlike a debate club - the reason is not to win the debate. No, the idea is to open a discussion, to hear new and hopefully surprising points of views.
Of course, There is no such thing as “The Best Monster”. The whole point of a bracket night, like most thought processes, is not the outcome but the road leading to it. Some of the concepts that emerged during ourthe discussions were interesting and new to some of the participants.
That evening got people thinking in new ways about monsters, for example:
- Relatability - To what monsters can we, as humans, relate? A swarm of rats is something that we can more easily relate to.
- Alienation - And by contrast, the alien nature of some creatures. We can’t imagine what a beholder is thinking or what are the values a mind flayer holds dear.
- Effects outside the imaginary space/expected results - The effect that a monster has on physical items outside the imaginary space (erasing items of the character sheet, forcefully moving PCs miniatures on the board etc). Draining levels.
- Historical context - The historical contexts that come with a creature. And I use plural because I distinguish between at least 3: the real world history, the game history and the party collective history. Take for example a gorgon.
- Intelligence - The level of intelligence of a creature.
- Versatility - a bulette can only do so much.
- Prep time / hype required - How much of prep time a monster may require in order to place it in your game
- Difficulty level - The difficulty of facing a creature, like a dragon for low level characters or a tarrasque. When can you best utilise an unbeatable monster in your campaign?
# Summary (19:05)
I highly recommend that you have a bracket night. It a fun social experience, that may open your eyes to new possibilities as long as you remember that there is no “winning condition”
# Taking the load off (19:47)
- Uri - Bracket Night, Escape Room.
- Eran - Menagerie of the Void, looking for playtesters.
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Intro and outro based on On the Shoulders of Dwarves by the Cliches Duo. On the Shoulders of Dwarves is shared under [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International](https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
Brought to you by Eran Aviram of On the Shoulders of Dwarves