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.)

Archive for the ‘Games’

Episode 8 – The Magician Upright

November 08, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Dark Waters Rising News, Games

Boston[ Author’s Note: This is the log for the 8th session. Instead of posting your standard log of everything that happened during the session I will post “Then” and “Now” sections that summarize the story. The players will need to recall the details as to how it unfolded. This means that the players will be responsible for remembering any loose ends that may come back to haunt them in a later Episode. ]

[ Note Regarding The Picture: I found the Boston picture when I was searching for a “female vampire” image on Google. Turns out it is from a book that sells on Amazon. I loved the East Indian feel so I turned to Google again. Of course there are vampires in India! 😉 ]


Willow Gate Estate, New Orleans, USA – June 19th, 2015 – Vanessa throws open the small door the pantry then quickly heads down the tiny concealed stairway. Her thoughts race. Sounds like a large caliber pistol and an M16. Most likely it is the professional team that Barnes described. Vanessa muses that Barnes is the only Vampire of their brood with any long term potential. Barnes is a trained soldier who is used to taking order but is not dumb enough to march into his own demise. As Vanessa reaches the bottom of the stone stairway her nose is assaulted with the fragrant smell of stale blood. At the far side of the chamber a writhing mass of thralls crawl under the crossed legs of Boston forming a makeshift throne of flesh. For a moment Vanessa takes in the beautiful example of her lovers immense power. Realizing the importance of the moment Vanessa speaks out, “My love…the group of hunters that Barnes mentioned is at our very doorstep!” Boston turns and stands atop the thralls, as she walks to the ground they form stairs under her feet, “Prepare to meet our foes Vanessa. I must be given time to complete the ritual. With it my legacy will be complete.” With that Vanessa pulls the silver blade that was given to her as a gift from her lover and opens the steel door leading to the gazebo, “I’ll lead.” As the two race down the narrow stone corridor Vanessa feels a twinge of doubt. Even though she had killed many hunters over the years somehow this time felt different.


Willow Gate Estate, New Orleans, USA – June 25th, 2015 – Jacob Morley always made Sutherland’s skin crawl. The ancient mortician with his gaunt appearance and tall thin frame seemed to only be kept alive by some unseen force. Gathering his tablet Sutherland follows Morley towards the office of the Adeptus Exemptus of his grand Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn. After knocking at the door Morley opens the portal and ushers him into the room. Taking a seat at the large oak desk Doctor Sutherland waits to be addressed. As the chair turns the Doctor sits up straight, “Adeptus.” “Doctor Sutherland. We have received word that the group of hunters that you encountered in New Orleans have kicked over a proverbial bees nest of spirits and souls. The amount of arcane and historical knowledge that could potentially be harnessed from the event and the released spirits is immense. You have a colleague within the group of hunters and experience with the history leading up to the event so I want you to lead the mission. Please have a mission statement and resource allocation outline in my inbox within the next 3 hours. Don’t let me down Doctor.” With a nod Jason Sutherland stands and walks back to his office with a smile on his face. This could be his chance for a promotion to the Inner Circle!

Big Bad Con 2015 Report

October 19, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Games, Growlings, Site Recommendations

Big Bad Con Games On DemandAfter hearing rave reports about the convention from many of my gaming compadres I decided to give Big Bad Con a try this year. Choosing a gaming convention is an important decision for me as now that I have kids I can only attend one overnight gaming convention a year. Spending time away from the family puts more pressure on my family and costs enough money that it is a decision that I make carefully. Big Bad Con is run by Sean Nittner, a local alpha gamer, and many local gamers act as volunteer staff.

There are several things that make Big Bad Con unique to Bay Area Cons. First off it is an RPG focused convention. You won’t be kicked out for playing a board game but literally every event and seminar is related to either RPGs or LARPs. As I am a primarily RPG gamer this was something that really attracted me to Big Bad Con. The selection of RPG events really focuses on indie games which is fine by me. Big Bad Con caters to an older crowd. They have a policy to admit only people of age 18 or older. This is again something that I appreciated. You knew you were going into a game with other adults. Big Bad Con also has one of the most open community standards that I have seen at a con. I thought it was a breath of fresh air. Signups for events (aka gaming sessions) is done online. In the first round you can register for 2 games then after 2 weeks you can register for any event that you want. I LOVED signing up for games early. I’ve heard this is a standard practice on the East Coast but out here in the Bay Area online game signups before you attend the event is a recent phenomenon. This signup process worked GREAT for me. I got literally every game I wanted to play and was able to nearly fill my schedule before actually attending the con. This also allowed me to purchase the RPGs beforehand if I did already own them and read up. If you did not get into a game then their awesome Wolf Pack took up the slack. They had several games on demand that looked great. Laminated sheets made it easy to sign up. 😉 Finally a portion of the registration fee goes to a charity. This year it was Doctors Without Borders. Just awesome. 🙂

When I showed up at Big Bad Con on Friday afternoon I was warmly greeted by Sean and the volunteer staff and picked up my badge. Along with the lanyard were some neat little pins that attendees seemed to wear like badges of honor. So very cool. 🙂 I also picked up my t-shirt that I got as part of the kickstarter. The Big Bad Con 2015 t-shirts were awesome and before I left I ended up with both the Wolf and Creepy Little Red Riding Hood designs. In the same room Endgame had a rack with some of their products on hand. I picked up a copy of Monster Of The Week that was on my want list.

Game sessions were held in either a larger conference room with 4 tables or in a private room with a single table. I played several games in both environments and frankly never had an issue. Sometimes the single rooms would get hot but opening a window did the trick.

During the con food was provided by either the local hotel restaurant or by food trucks. The food trucks were frankly awesome! I tried lots of different food including eggs benedict, gyros, wraps, pad thai, and crepes. I think the lamb gyros were my favorite of the weekend. The only complaint that I heard very strongly was related to a burger truck that came on Saturday night. In my session it took almost an HOUR for folks to get their food and return. I did not try the burger truck so I don’t know the reason. I guess the staff should consider multiple trucks on Saturday night for dinner. The local hotel restaurant is fine but a bit expensive. I enjoyed the Sunday brunch a lot but it was a bit expensive. Big Bad Con often had coffee available which was appreciated. I also found it interesting the two of my GMs actually brought food to the games. NEAT! 😀

I played in four convention events and one game run by a friend. I started on Friday with a rip roaring game Of War Of Ashes by the author of the book, Sophe Legace. It was a blast. My second game was Motobushido. It was epic samurai goodness! Godlike started off Saturday. The GM was from Double Exposure and did a nice job with it. I then rounded out my Saturday evening with a game of Champions that was tons of fun. On Sunday I played a game of Kerberos Club (FATE) run by Craig Robertson. I actually met Craig on the board game front (aka Tide Of Iron and 1AGames) but I had never played an RPG with him. Fun game! I was so tired that I did not attend my last scheduled event and that was a shame as it was the game I signed up for first. Carl Rigney was running Golden Sky Stories. I had seen Carl at several seminars at DunDraCon and really wanted to game with him. Next year Carl! 🙂

I have been attending gaming conventions for over 30 years. My first convention was DunDraCon IV. I have been to probably 40 gaming conventions over the years including GenCon, Origins, DunDraCon, Pacificaon, KublaCon, PolyCon, and others. Out of all that con going Big Bad Con stands out as my favorite gaming convention after only attending one time. If you live in the Bay Area and play role-playing games you should make Big Bad Con a destination. To get more information just head over to

Episode 7 – The Magician Upright

September 26, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Dark Waters Rising News, Games

Vanessa[ Author’s Note: This is the log for the 7th session. Instead of posting your standard log of everything that happened during the session I will post “Then” and “Now” sections that summarize the story. The players will need to recall the details as to how it unfolded. This means that the players will be responsible for remembering any loose ends that may come back to haunt them in a later Episode. ]


Levee House, New Orleans, USA – June 19th, 2015 – As the sleek Mercedes races towards Highway 10 the sound of gunshots fade in the distance. The large vampire at the wheel, feeling naked in his pajamas, grips the steering wheel tightly. Looking out the back window of the car his heavily tattooed passenger speaks in a quiet concerned tone, “I saw at least three hunters but there must have been more. They appear to be heavily armed and good shots as well. One winged me from almost 100 yards at a dead run with an M16. Wonder if it is that blasted Homeland Security team??? Whaddya think Barnes?” The large black vampire races up the freeway on-ramp accelerating at an even steady pace. He addresses his passenger in a careful even tone, “I dunno if it was Homeland Security Garrett but either way they were a group of trained hunters. Jordan is tough and Siva and Katie are smart. It would take a lot of firepower to take down those three. I’m more worried about Sutherland. That scrawny English puke will collapse like a house of card if questioned. We best get somethin’ to quench our thirst then get to the estate and let Boston know that company is on the way. If I was them I’d press. We should expect them in the next day or so.” The leather clad youth sits back in his seat but finds it impossible to sit still. What has he gotten himself into?!? A squad of trained hunters!?!


Willow Gate Estate, New Orleans, USA – June 19th, 2015 – Vanessa paces as she waits for her lover, Boston, to finish preparations for the ritual. She reflects that it has been a long time since she has felt nervous about anything. Should Boston succeed their dreams will be fulfilled but at what cost?!? A knock on the door to the guest house reminds her that there is still work to be done. Vanessa crosses the room with confident gait, raises the collar on her blouse, then opens the door, “Hey Vanessa! Is the Boss ready?” As Garrett enters the room Barnes follows with a thin smirk on his face, “You need to be on your A game Garrett…this night is far from over.” Vanessa silently closes the guest house door then heads off to speak with Boston wishing that she did not have to deal with these jackasses, “The mistress is almost ready. You know your roles. Please don’t fuck it up.” As she leaves the room Garrett takes comfort in Vanessa’s cold demeanor while muttering, “That bitch has ice running in veins but that might be just what we need right now.”

Episode 6 – The Magician Upright

August 08, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Dark Waters Rising News, Games

Garrett Baxter[ Author’s Note: This is the log for the 6th session. Instead of posting your standard log of everything that happened during the session I will post “Then” and “Now” sections that summarize the story. The players will need to recall the details as to how it unfolded. This means that the players will be responsible for remembering any loose ends that may come back to haunt them in a later Episode. ]


The Moon’s Caretakers Commune, New Orleans, USA – August 7th, 2015 – As the day grows longer the spirits of the Moon’s Caretakers are all but gone. When the third member of the hunting party returns the three talk quickly and often glance back over at their captives. Pierre looks to Babet and speaks in a slow even tone, “Babet. We need to be strong in our beliefs. We need to think about our “pale mistress” and the relief that she may bring. When night falls and the mistress rises in all her beautiful fullness Katie and Jordan will come back and they will know what to do. If we are killed then maybe our blood will nourish them. Close your eyes with me. Let’s pray.” Her eyes red with tears Babet notices the three men returning. She closes her eyes tight not wanting to know what they plan to do to her commune family…


Levee House, New Orleans, USA – June 19th, 2015 – After returning with the small bus Jordan and Katie help Babet and Pierre into the house. When Garret spots Katie entering with the two commune members he yells out, “What the fuck Katie!?! Get those two hippie freaks out of here!” Katie responds by calmly telling Garret to get Barnes and Siva. Once the group is assembled and Pierre and Babet have been led to a bedroom Katie explains, “The commune has been compromised. It was a group of at least three hunters and they had support. Pierre describes the three as a guy with a bow, a tattooed punk with a knife, and a businessman looking guy. Pierre said they had throat mics and seemed fairly well armed. They killed Morris and 86. If they could gak those two they must be hunters. Jordan and I searched the bus and found a tracker under the front fender. We cleared it before returning but I’m afraid the TMC people may have spilled details about us.” After relaying all of the details about what they found at the camp Barnes responds by barking out orders, “Katie…you and Jordan did fine…get the Doc on the line and get him over here ASAP. Let’s process this last bunch of stiffs tonight and get back to the manor house. Hopefully the boss will have enough souls to complete the ritual. Garret give the boss a call and let her know what has happened. Siva…comb the bus and look for more trackers or anything unusual. If you find anything let me know ASAP. Let’s go people..pack lightly and move quickly…oh…and no lip out of you Siva…” The small Indian vampire pulls back his outstretched finger and cringes back like a puppy hit with a rolled up newspaper, “Sure thing Barnes…sure thing…”

Episode 5 – The Magician Upright

June 28, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Dark Waters Rising News, Games

Subject 86[ Author’s Note: This is the log for the 5th session. Instead of posting your standard log of everything that happened during the session I will post “Then” and “Now” sections that summarize the story. The players will need to recall the details as to how it unfolded. This means that the players will be responsible for remembering any loose ends that may come back to haunt them in a later Episode. ]


New Orleans, USA – April 16th, 2015 – After I asked Father about going to school he explained that it would not be possible. I know I am tall and might scare some people but if they just get to know me then I’m sure they would like me! I am excited about going to the library tomorrow on my own. Father says I can just break in an borrow some books as long as I close up afterwards. He told me to find a book called Frankenstein but I think I might try Uglies instead.

New Orleans, USA – April 17th, 2015 – Coming back from the library I was surprised to see strange cars in the driveway. As I approached I heard gunfire then a crash! The lab! As I sat stunned deciding what I should do I heard a car horn. Behind me was Jordon and Garret in their black car. (Garret is handsome but such an ass. I’m not into “bad boys”. Jordan is nice but too old for me.) They pulled up and quickly told me to get into the car. I told them no then Garret explained that a group of hunters were in the house and that it was not safe. I tried to ask why they would be “hunting” in our house but Garret seemed nervous so I got into he car. I hope father is ok…


New Orleans, USA – June 19th, 2015 – The trio of Moon Caretakers are introspective as they slowly pole their way back to camp with an empty boat. The calm swamp water belies the events will soon arise. Subject 86, or just “86” to her friends, wonders how the vampires will react with only 2 thralls ready this cycle. She puts it out of her mind when Mark yells out, “Look!” A plume of black smoke is coming from the commune! The trio quicken their pace as the wonder what they will find at their home.

As the boat reaches the makeshift dock 86 jumps out followed closely by Mark then Peter. They stop dead in their tracks when they run face first into an armed gunman. The young tattooed man with a rifle yells out, “Hold it right there! Hands up!” 86 slowly raises her hands as she watches the tarp that comprises their main sleeping area collapse is a blaze of orange flame. It is everything she can do to keep from crying. Peter stares at the tent he helped erect hoping that this is some type of nightmare that he will awake from.

After the tattooed man and 2 of his friend tie up Mark and Peter they move to the side of the camp where they can talk in private. 86 weighs her options realizing that action would likely hurt many of her friends. When her 3 captors come back from their discussion the tattooed man with the rifle leads the way. His rifle is on his back and one hand is behind his back. He circles behind 86 and stabs her in the neck. As blood fills her throat her friends look on in horror! She tries to ask the man why he is not happy with her but only a gurgle emerges. When her eyes close 86 regrets the fact that her Father will never know that she was able to carry on his life’s work…to bring life to the unliving…but at least her friends will be happy with her work…at least she would die with friends who love her…what more could a girl ask for…