Kingbeast's Lair

Growling about the RPG industry and my gaming life. RPG and anime reviews from a passionate fan. (Formerly John's Hero HQ.)
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Archive for the ‘Games’

Session #16 – Daring Tales #8 – The Island Of Terror

July 14, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

T-Rex Roar[Author's Note: This is the log for the 16th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play. The narrator is shown in italics.]

In this hair-raising adventure of Tesla’s Power Corp you can follow the exploits of the following heroes:

  • Clyde Beatty – Whip crackin’ animal expert with a troubled past.
  • Johnny Kelly – Self-taught mechanic and chemist who knows he is the best at what he does…just ask him!
  • Mike Callahan – Tough private-eye with a zest for life.
  • Tommy Kelly – Teen thief with a “Robin Hood” complex.
  • Miles Ravenwood – Mysterious man-of-means with knowledge in all things arcane.

Crash Landing!

The adventure begins in medias res with the team in a seaplane that is fighting to stay airborne over a rough Caribbean. With a crash the plane is struck and the propellers stops. The group flashes back to a scene where Tesla and Trubee are asking the group to investigate the disappearance of one of their expeditions that has gone missing on a mysterious island in the South Pacific. The front window smashes inward. Mile’s hired pilot is impaled by what appears to be a pteranodon! As the dangerous dinosaur snaps about the cabin Miles lets loose with a bolt. The lighting bolt goes off target and puts a hole right through the dashboard and outer hull of the plane. As the uncontrollable plane starts to dive Johnny dives under the control panel in an attempt to repair the rudder controls. Mike lets loose with his rifle on the pteranodon sending it sliding off the front of the plane. As the plane nears the water Miles grabs the controls and remembering a single flight lesson that he took back in England pulls back on the yoke. After navigating around some rocks and through a stone arch Miles lands the seaplane near a rocky cave.

Ancient Byway

After securing the plane the members of Tesla’s Power Corp gather up their equipment from the plane and head towards the nearby coast. Once on a small black sand beach the group starts a fire to dry their gear. After getting dry they head out of the cave through a small tunnel. The tunnel leads to an ancient cobblestone road that runs at the bottom of a steep canyon. Tommy decides to climb up and look around. He sees a dense jungle surrounding two peeks. The second peak is volcanic and is smoking with an eerie glow.

After walking down the canyon there is an earthquake! As the ground shakes part of the walls start to fall down on the heroes. The heroes dash down the road avoiding falling rocks, boulders, trees, and a skeleton. It is only with careful help from the nimbler members of the team that they are able to survive. As the sun sets the group has entered the jungle and found an some old ruins where they can put up camp. Clyde starts a small fire and the group puts down for the night. They decide to setup watches.

At midnight, while Mike is on watch, Tommy awakens when he hears a noise. Clyde is also aroused. Although Mike does not hear anything due to his damaged hearing from his time during the Great War Tommy assures him that someone is approaching. Suddenly the thick jungle wall explodes with action! Deranged tribesman yelling terrible chants race forward! They are wielding clubs and appear to be trying to subdue the team. Initially the tribesman do some damage but as soon as the entire group is awakened they manage to scare them off.

Trail Tracking

Once the sun is up the members of Tesla’s Power Corp decides to track the tribesman back to their camp. Led by the brilliant eyes of tracker Clyde Beatty the group follows the trail through the dense jungle and across a river. The journey is slow going but the team is moving quickly.

In the late afternoon they emerge from the thick jungle to find them selves at the foot of a great stone bridge. As the group start to cross the bridge the ground shakes violently. To their surprise it is not another earthquake but it is instead a herd of triceratops! The team quickly dash across the bridge. When they reach the other side the large dinosaurs run onto the bridge sending half of them down the steep canyon walls.

When the heroes continue down the trail they enter what appears to be an ancient plaza but it has collapsed leaving only pillars. As they start to explore the area they hear a roar and from out of the trees a tyrannosaurus-rex emerges! As the beast clears the trees the group separates. Mike lets loose on it’s head with two powerful rifle shots! It rears back but keeps coming. Miles cuts loose with a spell but it just seems to make it madder! Tommy climbs a tree and waits for it to get closer. The large creature approaches Mike and narrowly misses him with teeth the size of large knives! Tommy then hurls a bottle of nitroglycerine down the beasts throat in a perfectly thrown shot. After a brief pause the beast rocks back and explodes in a blast of chemical fire! Upon taking some claws and fangs from the t-rex the group moves out of the plaza. Clyde notices that in the track of the beast is a crushed sheet of paper with Greek writing. With that the group decides to follow the t-rex trail not the savages.

The t-rex trail leads to a crushed camp. It appears that a group of Greek explorers under Stephan Andropolous, the devious mobster that they encountered during their adventure in Crete, is also on the island. The group finds a book written in English from the lost expedition with symbols and their translations. When the group hears a whining noise they investigate and find a small baby t-rex. Clyde approaches the beast and by feeding it some raw meat gains its trust.

Temple Trouble

Now following tracks that lead from the camp the members of Tesla’s Power Corp come upon a stepped pyramid. On top of the pyramid are a large group of the deranged savages. They are beating drums and chanting. As their chanting reaches a crescendo the tribesmen bring forth an olive skinned man and appear to be preparing to sacrifice him. Acting quickly Miles grabs the sacrifice with his telekinesis. Mike cuts loose on the tribal leader with rifle shots. Johnny starts shooting tear gas pellets. Tommy sneaks up one side trying to get past them and into a side tunnel. Clyde and the baby t-rex rush up one stairwell surprising the deranged tribesman with their yelling and shooting! This gives them the split second the group needs to start taking them out. Some of the savages manage to run down and confront the heroes but soon they are taken out.

What will our group face when they actually reach the volcano?!?

Things get hot as our heroes enter the heart of a beating volcano! What evil threat waits within this terrible mountain of fire!?! The brave members of Tesla’s Power Corp are up to task and plan to find out!

Session #15 – Daring Tale #7 – The Twelfth Gate

June 30, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

Twelfth Gate Cover Image[Author's Note: This is the log for the 15th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play. The narrator is shown in italics.]

In this hair-raising adventure of Tesla’s Power Corp you can follow the exploits of the following heroes:

  • Clyde Beatty – Whip crackin’ animal expert with a troubled past.
  • Mike Callahan – Tough private-eye with a zest for life.
  • Tommy Kelly – Teen thief with a “Robin Hood” complex.
  • Miles Ravenwood – Mysterious man-of-means with knowledge in all things arcane.

Explosive Train Ride

As Clyde loads their camels on the a he notices a small patch of rock and hears a squeak. When he investigates he finds an Egyptian ferret who seems to want to challenge him. Clyde feeds the ferret then the two seem to be a pair. Tommy decides that the ferret should be named “Johnny”. After loading the camels the train heads north following the magical pull of the staff.

During the train ride while Tommy is walking the halls he spots a strange little man in a dark colored robe leaving one of the restrooms. The strange thing is that Tommy does not remember the man entering the restroom. He follows the man in the robe to a car where he meets with several large men. After a brief conversation the large men stand and walk towards the train car where the members of Tesla’s Power Corp are riding. Thinking quickly Tommy handcuffs the train doors closed and alerts the rest of the group. After tugging on the locked door the small man returns and unhooks the car with the heroes! As the trains separate he yells that they will soon be dead as when the train slows a bomb that he has placed under it will explode! Tommy climbs under the train and finds that there is in fact a bomb with a device attached to the wheel. Thinking fast the group jumps to the back train and apply the brakes. The back car further separates leaving the middle car with the bomb unoccupied. As the cars slow the middle train explodes sending it careening off the rails! With that the group grabs their camels and decides to continue without the train.

Hidden Temple Tomb

After Clyde and his ferret have skillfully led the group through the desert the group arrives at a small oasis with two obelisks. The obelisks are marked with a symbol or Ra and Apep. After some searching Tommy notices that the bases of the obelisks are rigged so that they can be turned. With that Mike realizes that the symbol of Ra should be faced towards the rising sun. Once both are turned the heroes hear a low rumbling noise. A strange temple entrance rises from out of the sand! After inspecting the group proceeds into the temple.

At the bottom of the stairway is a black sarcophagus with the form of Apep. Intricate murals around the room seem to infer that this room was used to contain Apep’s minions. The lid to the sarcophagus is ajar. When the members of the Corp approach using they feel a foul wind. The wind stirs up dust on the floor to form several mummies that are made of snakes! With that the group jumps into action. Miles cuts loose with lightning bolts. Mike uses the Staff Of Ra to blast the mummies. Clyde takes a deadly strike but manages to tough it out with a belt of booze. After protecting Clyde in a shield of light Mike destroys one of the mummies with a powerful strike from the Staff. The small ferret takes out the smaller snake swarms. After the fight ends the group finds that the sarcophagus contains a stairwell leading down.

Solar Barge Ride Has Bite

This stairwell goes down for quite some time before emerging at an underground river. The river is polluted with black snakes and sludge. Waiting at the doc is an Egyptian solar barge with magical rowers. After paying the mechanical driver the boat starts moving down the river. During the trip they see movement in the water and are attacked by a giant shadow snake! The snake deals a blow but is turned back momentarily when Tommy throws nitroglycerine in it’s mouth. Mike then summons the power of the Staff and brains the snake sending it back into the dark sludge.

The Final Confrontation

At the end of the boat ride the heroes find themselves at a magical temple. Twelve pillars are holding up a majestic domed roof. Eleven of the pillars are covered in black snakes and dead vines. The last pillar glows with a bright white light. In the center of the dome is a block of stone that holds a black staff. The staff is shooting a bolt of purple energy into the white pillar. All around the domed temple stand the minions of Apep. Leading them is a massive snake man with only a tail and no legs. He claims to be the High-Priest Of Apep. Miles detects that he has several spells running. There is also a powerful warrior snake man who claims to the Champion Of Apep. In addition to the two snake men are four devotees armed with swords and shields.

After brief soliloquies a massive melee ensues! The High-Priest lets loose a powerful snake spell that sends most of the heroes reeling. Clyde shakes it off then grabs the black staff with his whip and pulls it out of the stone block. This angers the High-Priest who tells his men to return the staff! With that the rest of the men attack. Tommy ties a rope to the black staff and starts to scamper up a pillar with it. Miles uses the papyrus scroll to cast one of the spells on the High-Priest. The effect is a massive blast of light that sends the High-Priest to the ground barely alive! He orders everyone to fell the foul sorcerer. Miles takes some serious damage but remains standing. Mike smashes the Champion and several devotees with the Staff Of Ra. Realizing what must be done Miles asks Mike to give him the staff so he can place it in the temple altar. Mike hesitates but ends up fighting off the mind influencing power of the staff and hands it to Miles. When Miles places the staff in the alter the room fills with light! The High-Priest is sent reeling through a dark portal that forms at one of the black pillars. The rest of the snakes scream out in pain as the light peels off their scaly skin! The battle has ended with the forces of light being victorious.

Staggering from the temple the group decides the best course of action is to seal it up.

In our next thrilling adventure our heroes explore an island that time forgot. What ancient evil lurks in the shadows waiting to strike! Tune in to this station to find out what awaits the members of Tesla’s Power Corp!

Session #14 – Daring Tale #7 – The Twelfth Gate

May 30, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

Rashid Al-Aziz[Author's Note: This is the log for the 14th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play. The narrator is shown in italics.]

In this hair-raising adventure of Tesla’s Power Corp you can follow the exploits of the following heroes:

  • Clyde Beatty – Whip crackin’ animal expert with a troubled past.
  • Mike Callahan – Tough private-eye with a zest for life.
  • Johnny Kelly – Self-taught mechanic and chemist who knows he is the best at what he does…just ask him!
  • Tommy Kelly – Teen thief with a “Robin Hood” complex.
  • Miles Ravenwood – Mysterious man-of-means with knowledge in all things arcane.

Cairo Calamity

After introducing Tesla to Doctor Whatley and explaining their recent escapades the group decides that the best course of action is to travel to Egypt so that they can speak with Doctor El-Mahdy. This is the man who sent Doctor Whatley a letter claiming that he had information about an evil organization who is likely the cause of the dimming rays of the sun. Upon checking into a hotel the heroes travel to Doctor El-Mahdy’s office at the Department Of Antiquities. When they are about to knock on the door it opens and a stunningly beautiful Egyptian woman leaves. As she passes by Tommy decides to follow her. Clyde leaves shortly afterwards trying to follow Tommy and the woman. The rest of the group enters the office to speak with Doctor El-Mahdy. To the surprise of the heroes Doctor El-Mahdy says he does not know what they are talking about and that he has not sent any letter to Doctor Whatley. When the group produces the letter and shows it to Doctor El-Mahdy he pauses then says that it must be a fake. During this time Mike notices that Doctor El-Mahdy is a bit glassy eyed and is having trouble maintaining focus. He whispers to Miles that he thinks Doctor El-Mahdy might be drugged. The Detective then attempts to circle around the Doctor but he pulls a knife! With that Mike jumps the Doctor! In seconds the Doctor is subdued. After getting grabbed Doctor El-Mahdy’s mouth starts to bubble and he utters his last breath, “Forgive me…my mind…they made me do things…Rashid Al-Aziz…find him…no…more…darkness…”

During this time Tommy follows the woman through the streets and alleys of Cairo. During the way he notices several men who are working with her to detect tails. These men are VERY professional. Tommy expertly dodges them until the woman enters a bar called the Cobras Nest. Going around back Tommy climbs up to the roof and tries to find a way into the building. While on the roof he notices Clyde watching the place from the front of the building. Climbing down he covertly alerts Clyde that he is being watched. He then returns to the roof and enters through an air vent. Once inside the Cobras Nest Tommy overhears the woman telling several men to find Rashid and kill him. The men leave the nightclub. At this point Tommy drops down behind the stage. Once down the woman passes by then stops when she see the open air vent. She calls out for whoever is hiding. Tommy comes out confidently. At this point she asks Tommy to join her in her changing room. She introduces herself as Nadine. Even though Tommy feels like his mind is being attacked he managed to resist her magical charms. He then enters her room. Nadine then orders Tommy to get her friends and bring them to a certain address at 10 PM. She promises to help Tommy. He pretends to be charmed and agrees. Tommy then asks for a kiss. When Nadine kisses him he steals some keys from her handbag. With that he leaves the Cobras Next and meets up with the rest of the heroes.

At Doctor El-Mahdy’s office there is a knock on the door and several armed guards appear. They ask the group what happened then check on the status of Doctor El-Mahdy. As one of them is checking the body Callahan notices a black cobra tattoo on his wrist. As the guard starts to circle around Mike springs into action. He cracks the jaw of one guard then moves to the next. Miles opens up with deadly lightning and Johnny blinds them with his chemicals. In seconds the fake guards are no longer a threat. After grabbing Doctor El-Mahdy’s notebook the heroes return to their friends for an update.

Wizened Rashid

Once all of their clues are gathered the members of Tesla’s Power Corp head off to see if they can protect Rashid. When they arrive at a shack that is his residence they find a group of men standing on a corner nearby. They appear to be conversing in hushed tones and are watching the place. They seem to be gathering their nerve. Thinking quickly Tommy circles around behind. Clyde sets a small fire in a trash can to attract their attention. This allows Tommy to drop into the shack unobserved. Once inside Tommy is met by the withered figure of Rashid Al-Aziz. Rashid is very clam and greets Tommy as if he expected him to visit. In calm but terse terms Rashid warms Tommy that forces of evil are at work and that he will soon be beset by them. Tommy explains that the thugs outside will be taken care of and asks him to explain. Rashid says that the men across the street are not a threat to him. He then informs Tommy that he must remember what he is about to tell him. Rashid them explains that each night Ra battles Apep so that the sun may rise. These battles are over twelve gates, one for each hour of night. Apep and Ra are fighting over the last gate and it appears that Apep will be victorious unless the heroes respond. He tells Tommy to seek out the Staff Of Ra. This is a mystical weapon that can be used against the forces of darkness. He tells Tommy that the female minion of Apep at the Cobra’s Nest has information that can lead them to the staff. As he closes the conversation he tells Tommy to leave. He them floats up in the air and turns towards the entrance to the shack! With that Tommy leaves out the front door. After leaving Rashid floats out the door. A black mist is surrounding him that appears like a dark snake. A voice emerges from Rashid that is not his own. The voice warns the heroes that any mortals who oppose him will have their souls taken and be tortured for all eternity! When he finishes speaking gaseous snakes appear and move to attack the group. The members of the Corp react quickly and violently. Miles tunes his lightning blast so that it is brighter then cuts loose. Johnny using his blinding gas but is grabbed by one of the snakes! Clyde acts quickly to remove the snake from Johnny. Mike wrestles with one of the snakes. After a brief tussle the snakes are dispatched.

Walking Into A Trap

The heroes next move is to show up at what they know to be a trap to confront Nadine. The address on the paper appears to be a small house. After knocking on the door the group is let into the building by a well armed cultist. Nadine is in the next room but calls to Tommy to come in. After they have entered the building Nadine emerges but she has the form of a half-snake woman. Her legs are a long scaled tail. Miles detects that she also has several spells running. After holding the ruse for a few moments the group jumps Nadine and her cultists. Miles blasts away at Nadine causing some damage. Mike lays into Nadine with a vicious punch to the jaw that sends her to the ground. The rest of the group takes out the remaining cultists without much ado. Using the key he stole from Nadine’s handbag Tommy opens a small metal coffer that she has in the house. Inside he finds a letter written to Nadine from a cultist who appears to be her superior. The letter informs Nadine of the location of the Staff Of Ra but goes on to inform her that it is not a concern as it is guarded by an order known as the Saou.

The Fires Of Ra

A short train ride followed by a day camel ride bring the members of the Corp to the location of the Staff Of Ra. As they travel down a crevasse they are stopped by men armed with rifles. Their leader speaks with Miles and the group. After gaining his trust their leader Mardek agrees to accompany the heroes and to aid them on their quest.

After gaining entrance to the temple the heroes find a room with wispy fire blocking the entrance. The fire seems to burn those that it deems “unworthy”. After the group passes they find a statue with strange hieroglyphics on it. Mardek translates the text. The group uses the information to retrieve the staff from the statues. Mike grabs the staff and feels that he is destined to hold it. He gets a vision of two obelisks at an oasis in the desert. Mike believes he can lead the group to this area using the staff. With that the group returns to the train to continue their quest.

Where is the fabled Staff Of Ra leading our heroes!?! What powerful forces of darkness will they be facing!?! When danger rings the members of Tesla’s Power Corp are ready to take the call!

Session #13 – Daring Tale #7 – The Twelfth Gate

April 25, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

Vassar College Observatory[Author's Note: This is the log for the 13th session. Note that the order of the events in this record may not be in the exact order that they occurred during play. The narrator is shown in italics.]

In this hair-raising adventure of Tesla’s Power Corp you can follow the exploits of the following heroes:

  • Clyde Beatty – Whip crackin’ animal expert with a troubled past.
  • Johnny Kelly – Self-taught mechanic and chemist who knows he is the best at what he does…just ask him!
  • Tommy Kelly – Teen thief with a “Robin Hood” complex.
  • Miles Ravenwood – Mysterious man-of-means with knowledge in all things arcane.

Dark Star

Valarie Braveheart knocks on the door to Johnny’s garage on a blustery overcast day. After gaining entrance the plucky young reporter explains that she has been contacted by this eccentric scientist named Doctor Whatley. This astronomer is claiming that the sun is going out! After researching this scientist Valerie uncovered that he has made strange claims in the past. Although it looks suspect the files that were delivered to her from Doctor Whatley appear to be very technical. She asks Johnny and Tommy if they would check it out.

With that Johnny and Tommy drive out the Vassar College Observatory to meet with Doctor Whatley. As they pull into a gated area that surrounds the building they observe a truck with a horse trailer. In a nearby field a man is working with a black horse with a white star on his forehead. After parking in front of the build the young brothers enter the main room where they are greeted by Doctor Whatley. At first the Doctor does not believe Johnny is smart enough to understand his calculations. After convincing the Doctor that is he knowledgeable the pair dive into the details. Tommy decides to check out the rest of the building.

After around 15 minutes two black vans pull into the parking lot. Out of the van a group of men wearing black robes emerge. Their large leader directs one of the men to cut the phone line to the building. After removing the line the men enter the building. Outside the man working with the horse, Clyde Beatty, jumps on Dark Star and rides up to investigate. Inside Johnny and Doctor Whatley observe the large man pull down his hood to reveal a half snake man. When he orders his men they observe that he has a boa constrictor for a left arm and a cobra for a right arm! As the men approach Johnny gasses them. Doctor Whatley hands Johnny a letter then grabs his notes and starts to run. Although most of the cultists in the black robes are choking from the gas their snake-armed leader rushes forward. With his left arm he constricts Johnny crushing his ribs. With his right he bites Doctor Whatley with the cobra arm! After observing that the men in black robes are armed Clyde rides into the room on Dark Star with his pistol and whip cracking! Luckily Miles drives up after having visited Nikola Tesla and determining that Johnny and Tommy might need his guidance. It is good for them as Miles starts cutting loose with his deadly lighting spells felling the thugs and eventually the large snake man. As the men start to fall Clyde rides after Doctor Whatley scooping him up on the horse for safety.

After tying up the men Johnny examines the letter. The letter is from an Egyptian archaeologist who believes that the darkening of the sun observed by Doctor Whatley is the work of an evil Egyptian deity known as Apep. According to legend Apep battles Ra each night in an effort to try and prevent him from riding his chariot of the sun to morning. He directs Doctor Whatley to collect a set of papyrus scrolls known as the Book Of Overthrowing Apep and return it to him. This book is supposedly on display at the NY Museum Of Natural History. With that the heroes head off to meet with the President of the museum and their close friend, Trubee Davison.

Museum Chase

When the members of Tesla’s Power Corp and their new friend Clyde arrive at the museum there is a large commotion. As they pull to the curb they hear the sound of breaking glass and see a thin man with a green snake head dart out of the building. Under his arm is a thick book filled with flat papyrus scrolls. It must be the Book Of Overthrowing Apep! With that the group jumps into action! Johnny gasses the cultists which allows Tommy to race by after the snake man. Clyde enters the fray taking out cultists with leather and lead! To the surprise of the group Miles teleports in front of the snake man then shoots lightning bolts that lay him out. While the party searches the thin snake man Tommy spots a dark van pulling away. He quickly hails a taxi and tells the cabby to follow that car! After searching the body Miles finds a very evil and powerful magic symbol on the man’s chest in the form of a scarab. Trubee meets the heroes and thanks them for their efforts. After Miles explains the importance of the scrolls Trubee offers help from the museum staff to translate them. The scrolls are actually several spells with light based effects.

Demon Snakes

Tommy carefully trails the black van to a warehouse near the airport. He first calls Johnny to let him know where he has gone then sneaks up to investigate. In the warehouse he spots several cultists. After a fairly extended conversation the cultists make a hasty phone call then start to load up the van. When the rest of the members of the Corp arrive they decide it is time to act. Clyde busts down the front door laying down whip and cover attacks. From vantage points behind Clyde, Miles and Johnny cut loose with their strange powers. After the first barrage the cultists in the van summon some large black demonic looking snakes! The snakes move in to attack. Not wanting the van to get away Tommy lobs a bottle of nitroglycerine on the back bumper shredding the entire back of the vehicle! With some effort from the heroes the demon snakes are destroyed and the cultists are captured. In the cultist’s bag the group finds tickets to Egypt.

The myriad talents of our vaunted team of adventurers will be put to the test when they travel to Eqypt in search of an ancient and powerful cult lead by a dark deity! We hope you will stay tuned for our next adventure to the land of sand and sun!

My Hero Kids And Their First RPG Session

April 10, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Games, Growlings, Product Reviews

Hero Kids Cover

Summary

I recently introduced my board game loving boys, Josh (11 years old) and Evan (9 years old), to role-playing games. It was a fantastic experience that I wanted to describe in my blog. First I will go through the preparation and setup that I did before the session. Next I will describe how the session ran and what I learned.

Preparation And Setup

The first preparation that I did was to decide which system that I wanted to use. Before I started my search I tried to define all of the characteristics that I wanted in the system. This list included ease of play, very simple math with at MOST single digit addition, and flexibility. The math requirement was important to me as Josh has lots of trouble with math and I was afraid that if I chose something too complicated he would not want to play at all. I then started looking online and purchased several possible options. The one that really jumped out at me was Hero Kids. Hero Kids has several great aspects that I thought would appeal to my boys. First there is VERY little math. For most actions instead of doing addition or subtraction you roll dice and take the highest number. REALLY simple. If you are better at something you roll more dice. I also thought that Hero Kids was very intuitive to pickup but still has a surprising amount of flexibility. I felt that I could EASILY modify the system to play superheroes, science fiction stars, cartoon characters, or anything my boys might want to play. When I asked the boys they decided that they wanted to play heroes like Zelda. That means epic high fantasy…easy. After picking the system and genre I made a simple Hero Kids shield insert that includes all of key rules. This way the rules would always be accessible to the players. Here is a link to the shield insert.

Next I considered who I wanted to invite to the first session. After having taught my cousin’s kids how to play I knew that it worked well having an experienced role-player in the session. Thus I invited my brother Don to play with us. His instructions were simple, “Lead by example and try to solve some of the conflicts WITHOUT combat.” After Don I decided to invite Sermin (aka Mommy). The reason for inviting Mommy to the first session was simple. She can read the boys better than anyone and help me determine if a break is needed, keep the boys in line, or alert me if the boys were getting bored or confused.

Now that the players and system were in place I went about picking a first adventure. Luckily Hero Kids supplies several adventures to choose from and I had purchased several of them. After reading the ones I owned I chose NOT to run the one that they recommend as the introductory adventure (aka Basement O Rats). Instead I used the Hero Kids adventure titled the Mines Of Martek. The reason is that Mines Of Martek has a simple mission goal, several puzzles that do not involve combat, and it starts off with VERY little role-playing. I know my boys so I knew that they would not understand role-playing at first but would definitely appreciate the thrill of combat. The puzzles in Mines Of Martek that I liked included rescuing a miner from a sinkhole, crossing a rickety bridge, and burning giant spider webs.

My son Josh who is mildly autistic handles new things better if he is given advanced notice of what to expect. Thus I decided to get some of the preliminary discussion out of the way the day before the session. Essentially I just started talking with them about what will happen and how RPGs work. When doing this talk I used Zelda as an example whenever possible. For example, I explained that the players play characters like Zelda on a mission that I am directing. I told them that I act kind of like the Nintendo. I then described that I like RPGs better than video games because you can have your character do whatever you want…there are no pesky video game boundaries. I then explained the setting again using Zelda as an example. I told them that their home town is a lot like Ordon Village in Twilight Princess. We also picked out the dice we would use for the session. This turned out to be a very fun exercise. :D Doing this session the day before not only got them excited about it but got much of the preliminary information out of the way. It worked great.

The Session

After setting up the battlemat and other accoutrements I presented a brief overview of the setting and the role of the characters. In this case the role of the characters is to solve problems while their adventurous parents are off fighting dragons. I then let the players select which characters they wanted to play. The selection did not surprise me that much at all. Josh took a knight. I knew it would be a warrior and one with armor and a shield is an added bonus. Evan took a healer with a light blast spell. I knew it would be a thinking man’s support character of some type. Don took a more flexible warrior and Sermin took a water mage to round out the group. After selecting the characters I quickly used the character sheet to review the system. I explained the attributes, equipment, and their special abilities. I next explained how you tell how many dice to roll and that you want to keep the highest number (i.e. the Hero Kids system).

Once that was done I handed out three poker chips to each player and explained how these would be used. Poker chips!?! :) I decided early on that one of the things that would frustrate my boys was the fickleness of the dice. It sucks when you really want to hit that big bad master villain or jump the ravine to save the Princess and roll badly. To combat that I added a bennie mechanic taken directly from Savage Worlds or FATE. If the player spends a poker chip they can reroll their dice and try for a better outcome.

Now that the rules were explained we started the adventure. I jumped right in with the local town sheriff asking the PC to help rescue two miners who are trapped. The mission statement is simple. With some brief leading by Don the group entered the mines and started to look around. In the first room they decided to fix a broken mine cart and get some gear. They got a kick out of pushing each other around in the mine cart between each room. The first major combat was with some bats. It went really well for the good guys. I rolled TERRIBLY the entire session! :) During this combat I also noticed another point about Hero Kids that I enjoyed. Hero Kids has group initiative only. Once it is the heroes turn to act the characters can go in any order. This is a subtle but nice touch as it lets different players jump forward if they know what they want their characters to do.

After the first combat Evan started getting a bit distracted by the mine cart and the stuff around the bats. I was VERY pleasantly surprised when Josh’s knight reminded Evan’s healer that they needed to find those miners. This was an awesome time when Josh’s laser focus paid off. :D

The next room featured a puzzle with a miner caught in a sinkhole. In the first room they had collected a rope. Even though it took some prompting by Don they eventually figures it out and saved the miner. It was a nice little problem to resolve.

One other scene deserves some attention in this blog post. In the third room the group comes across a dark hole where they can hear giant rats starting to emerge. Acting quickly Don’s characters pushes a rock over the hole preventing the rats from escaping. This is EXACTLY what I wanted him to do during the session (i.e. solve a conflict without combat). It showed Evan and Josh that the best way to solve problems is often with your brain not your sword.

Prolog

Overall I know the session went really well. How do I know? After the session Evan asked about the village where the characters live and the underground river that they saw in the mine. He asked if they could investigate these next time. ;) The next weekend I ran a second session with just Evan and Josh. After the second session Evan started asking about making a potion to return their bennies during the game. Oh yeah and those glowing purple rocks in the basement tunnel…what were those? I also thought it was funny during the second session when he asked if I was making it all up. My response, “Of course! That is what makes role-playing games awesome!” Hook. Line. Sinker. :D