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’

John’s Gamer Dad Level Up List

October 03, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Games, Growlings

RPG Kids


I really excited that my two boys are now old enough to start playing games that are much more sophisticated. I am having a blast teaching them about a hobby that I adore. During this time I have seen them improve in many areas. While they have been improving I have been carefully following their progress. This list is my fun way to track our progress. I call it John’s Gamer Dad Level Up List. The ones we have completed are in gold. I added a computer knowledge list because it is important to me even though it is not really game related. :)

Board Games

  • Play hide & seek
  • Play simple kids board games
  • Play a more complicated Euro style board game
  • Play a simple wargame
  • Reference rules from one game while playing another game
  • Save money to buy games at a game store
  • Kid beats me regularly at a board game
  • Makes a reference to a board game in an unrelated conversation

My Comments
Right now my boys are playing many different board games with various mechanics and difficulty levels. Probably the most complicated might be our favorite, Memoir 44. The piggy bank to save money for games was actually their Mom’s idea. It is a great one that they have literally bought into.


  • Play pretend
  • Play kid focused rpg
  • Go to first gaming com
  • Play a more advanced rpg
  • Refer to dice as “d[number of sides]”
  • GM an RPG
  • Teach an RPG to someone else
  • Makes a reference to an RPG in an unrelated conversation

My Comments
We started with Hero Kids and it has worked great. It is simple and really fun. Having Don present at the first session and some that follow has been wonderful. He is teaching them by example that the best way to solve issues is with your brains not at the tip of a sword. Evan has asked to try Dungeons & Dragons so he may get that as a gift at some point. SHHH!!! ;)

Video Games

  • Play video games with me
  • Play video game alone
  • Beat bosses alone
  • Beat an entire game alone
  • Buy a video game with their own money.
  • Makes a reference to a video game in an unrelated conversation

My Comments
At first the boys and I started playing simple games like Monkey Island, Animal Crossing, and Mario Kart. We then moved to the Zelda games and really enjoyed it. We finished Skyward Sword and nearly finished Twilight Princess…I cannot beat Gannondorf at the end. :( Recently we started playing Fire Emblem which is a turn based strategy game. The boys loved it and actually finished it during the summer on their own. Hot darn! :D

Computer Knowledge

  • Feel comfortable playing on a tablet
  • Know how to turn on the PC and play with simple software
  • Know how to search for something on the internet
  • Can create documents
  • Know the various parts of a computer
  • Help Grandpa and Grandma with their computer

My Comments
I am really proud of how my guys are taking to the computers and tablet. Josh is especially great at finding stuff on Google. He found tons of games with police officers, pictures of tanks, etc. Just awesome. Next I need to get a PC I can pull apart to show them.

Did I miss anything? :D

Session #18 – Daring Tales #9 – Kingdom Of The Blood God

September 23, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

Tribesmen[Author’s Note: This is the log for the 18th 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.

Off The Rails!

When the mine tracks reach their terminus the cart plunges into an underground river. The heroes try to fight the suffocating water but succumb. The group awaken naked on a rough straw cot in leg manacles. Attending them is a beautiful young teenage woman known as Cassandra. She explains that the “slaves” were fished out of the lake by one of the Amazon hunting parties. The members of Tesla’s Power Corp are to be the property of the “new queen”. When prompted Cassandra explains that the old queen has just passed and a new queen will be selected today. She claims to be the daughter of the old queen Antiope. With that Cassandra escorts the group out into a central courtyard. At a small stone ziggurat a raven haired woman tells the crowd that she, Athena, claims the throne and asks for any challengers. At that moment one of the Amazon warriors who is standing behind Cassandra pushes her into the courtyard. Cassandra stands bravely but there is a look of fear in her eyes. She must battle Athena and her slaves for the throne. Cassandra claims the newly found slaves as her own.

As the battle starts the group moves into action. Tommy baits a slave towards the edge of the arena then throws him outside. Mike starts throwing powerful punches sending slaves to the dirt. Clyde works on other slaves while Miles cuts loose with lightning bolts. Cassandra fights defensively until Athena signals the crowd and is thrown weapons. Clyde grabs a sword and throws is to Cassandra. As Miles fells Athena, Cassandra puts a sword to her throat and asks her to surrender to the new queen. Athena assents.

Questing With The Queen

As the new “queen elect” Cassandra returns the group their gear. While relaxing in the palace the levity is interrupted by an Amazonian warrior. The warrior explains that one of the Amazon fishing villages is under attack by a group of Chicomoztoci tribesmen. They are capturing Amazons to sacrifice to their evil blood god! The heroes jump into action with Cassandra. They find a group of deranged tribesman burning down the village when they start their attack. The unorganized tribesman are quickly put down by the heroes. As the battle closes the Amazons report that ten of their members have been taken.

Upon returning to the Amazon fortress Cassandra is confronted by an old Amazon shaman. The crone tells the group that Cassandra must conduct a quest to rescue the Amazons who were taken to be crowned as queen. The fates should be confronted to guide the group. With that the heroes and Cassandra enter a sacred chamber below the Amazonian temple ziggurat. They soon find astral forms of themselves and must confront ghostly warriors using only their minds. The tables are turned when Tommy, Clyde, and Miles let loose in hand-to-hand mind combat. The crone gives the team magic stones as a reward for their victory.

Island Of The Blood God

Five days on the water take the heroes and Cassandra to the home of the Chicomoztoci. As they approach the island that is the home of the blood god’s minions they are beset by pirates! After boarding the pirate ship the heroes defeat the pirate captain and commandeer the ship. They then devise a plan to use the pirate ship as a distraction. Tommy sets the pirate ship on fire then jumps overboard! When the boat explodes ships from the island are sent to investigate. This gives the heroes a chance to sneak onto the island and free the captured Amazons.

As they sneak into the ruined city that is the Chicomoztoci home they find the Amazons tied up in a hallway inside the main ceremonial ziggurat. When Tommy sneaks up he finds five Amazons and Stefan Andropolous! Apparently the Greek mobster survived the mine cart descent and was rescued by the Chicomoztoci who now plan to sacrifice him. The group unties the Amazons but are caught as they are trying to escape. A pitched battle ensues! Miles and the Chicomoztoci witchdoctor trade blasts! Clyde start whipping tribesman off the ziggurat steps. Mike fires some deadly shots with his rifle then enters into hand-to-hand combat with them. Tommy grabs the ceremonial dagger from the fallen witchdoctor then uses it to impale the last temple guard. The party rushes back to their small boat and the trip back to the Amazonian homeland.

Cassandra is now the queen but the heroes of Tesla’s Power Corp still need to return to the surface. An ancient map will lead them to unspeakable horrors that must be braved. Keep your eyes open and your fists at the ready!

Session #17 – Daring Tales #8 – The Island Of Terror

August 27, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Daring Tales Of Adventure News, Games

Giant Centipede[Author’s Note: This is the log for the 17th 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.

Chamber Of The Moon

As the fight ends the group speaks with the “intended sacrifice” and examines the chamber just inside the mountain at the back of the ziggurat. The sacrifice has olive skin and deeply stained tan pants. When the heroes address him in English he replies that he knows only little English. He is apparently fluent in Greek. His name is Lander. Lander claims to work for Stefan. He says that most of his party has been sacrificed by the savages. The lone Greek guesses that he might be the only survivor.

While Lander gets his strength the group examines the chamber just inside of the ziggurat. The chamber walls are full of strange pictographs. Using the journal from the American explorers Miles is able to translate the pictographs. He learns that these ruins were built by an ancient race known as the Chicomoztoci, or “those who dwelt in the seven caves.” They apparently worship some type of moon good. A set of pictographs over the only way out of the room warn of the “dawn plunderers of the Valley Of The Moon.”

After giving the Greek a spare pistol, the members of Tesla’s Power Corp moves out of the chamber. After along walk in a dark cave the group finds a large round copper metal door. In the center of the round door is an Aztec calendar. After investigating Tommy realizes that it is like a simple safe tumbler and sets to crack it. A minute later and the door opens. The next room is full of large centipedes! When the door opens they surge forward followed by two humongous centipedes that are over 18 feet long! After a pitched battle the group is able to take down the creatures.

Ruins In The Valley Of The Moon

On the other side of the room with the bugs is a short hallway that leads to a beautiful grass meadow. Tommy climbs up the mountain side and borrowing Johnny’s binoculars takes a look around. On one side of the meadow he spies some dinosaurs that resemble velociraptors. On the other side is a ruined city. Behind both is the volcano. About 1/2 way up is a cave entrance. The top of the volcano is sputtering ash.

Clyde finds trails from several men leading towards the city ruins. Examining the trails carefully reveals that the Americans appear to be being led by the Greeks. Are they captives?

At the ruins Tommy scouts ahead. He spies a thin wisp of smoke from a fire and investigates. Several of the tribesmen are watching the trail through the city from cover. On one of the them has a shiny knife that obviously does not belong to the man. Tommy attempts to steal it but gets his hand caught on the mans belt. He then whistles for the heroes who are actually able to back down the savages without getting attacked. Quietly the group leaves towards the cave mouth.

Out Of The Pteranodons And Into The Fire

Johnny rigs up some of his sticky goo so that the group can climb up the side of the volcano a bit easier. As they near the cave mouth some pteranodons take to the air. Their nests have apparently been disturbed by the presence of the heroes. As they swoop down the group jumps into action. Tommy scampers up the hill. The baby t-rex grabs a pteranodon out of the air snapping its neck! Johnny and SAM let loose with gas attacks stunning the beasts. Clyde pulls one out of the air with his whip sending it crashing into the rock hard lava wall. When one swoops down Mike punches it in the neck sending it sprawling down the side of the volcano.

As Tommy climbs over the crest of the ridge towards the cave he hears a rifle bolt click back. The familiar Greek accented voice of Stefan Andropolous speaks out, “Climb up slowly and the rest of the Americans in your party will be allowed to live!” Next to Stefan is his bodyguard Mr. Scar. Standing nearby are four of his mercenaries. After binding and disarming the heroes Stefan goes on to explain that he believes the creators of this structure are the fabled Atlanteans. Stefan also relays that his men have just broken through a tunnel that will lead him to the Hollow Earth where he can get their fabled technology and use it to get the power he so rightly deserves. Lander is not being bound but instead appears to have rejoined Stefan’s group.

The members of Tesla’s Power Corp are led into a large room with a strange metal floor. On one side of the room sit four tied up members of the American expedition. On the other side of the room are rail cart tracks that lead into the heart of the volcano. Lander speaks with Stefan in Greek but he seems nervous and not comfortable with the plan. Lander keeps glancing back at the heroes then the other Grecians.

With some careful trickery the group escapes their bonds and rushes the Greek mercenaries, Stefan, and Mr. Scar. After felling two of the mercenaries Mike stuns Mr. Scar and Stefan with some well placed fists. Tommy runs towards the carts. Johnny lets loose with gas stunning several of the men. Miles cuts loose on Stefan with lightning bolts. Clyde grabs Mike’s rifle from one of the fallen mercenaries then start shooting at the other men. After regaining his senses Stefan jumps into a mine cart then pulls forth an item that summons four huge metal sphinx statues! The statues move forward to attack the group. Mike grabs on to the back of Stefan’s mine cart while it goes down the tracks. Tommy, Johnny, and Miles jump into another cart to pursue. This leaves Clyde who takes out sphinx after sphinx with well placed rifle shots! Once the Americans are safe he jumps into a mine cart with baby t-rex and rolls down the tracks.

After a wild ride the lead mine cart with Stefan and Mike hanging on the back reaches a sharp dip with broken tracks in the center! Mike jams on the breaks as the mine cart tumbles off the tracks towards the lava! Thinking fast Johnny pulls a rope and grappling hook from the bottom of the mine cart and asks Tommy to throw Mike a line. Tommy throws a perfect shot to Mike who swings under the cart then up inside of it! After clearing the jump the heroes trundle down the roller coaster track where they plunge off into the darkness…

What fate awaits the members of Tesla’s Power Corp in the Hollow Earth?!? Terrible cults!?! Ancient temples!?! Strange creatures that defy description!?! THAT AND MORE!!!

2014 ENnie Award Winners!

August 21, 2014 By: John Taber Category: Games, Growlings, Product Reviews, Site Recommendations

ENnies LogoHere is a list of the 2014 ENnie Award winners. If I have a comment you can find it under the entry..

Best Adventure

My Take

Eternal Lies is good stuff. :)

Best Aid/Accessory

My Take

I have the FATE dice called Antique. These new FATE dice sets are nice.

Best Art, Interior

Best Art, Cover

Best Blog

My Take

Gnome Stew has kicked tail for a long time. Highly recommended.

Best Cartography

Best Electronic Book

Best Family Game

My Take

I just finished reading FAE a little while ago. It is the first product in a while that has made me react with, “This is really something special.” FATE took several awards this year and they are all well deserved.

I’ll have to look up the Hobbit Tales…never heard of it until this year. :)

Best Free Product

Best Game

My Take

Really glad that this category came down with FATE for the gold and Numenera for the silver. I think FATE is a better product that is a LOT more accessible than Numenera. Botha are fantastic but I give the edge to FATE.

Best Miniatures Product

Best Monster/Adversary

Best Podcast

My Take

I just adore Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff. It has quickly emerged as my favorite RPG podcast and I listen to a ton of them. I’ve reviewed several of Ken Hites’ DunDraCon seminars in the past and my opinion of Ken still holds true. Folks should really listen when Ken opens his big trap…I mean mouth. :D

Best Production Values

Best RPG Related Product

Best Rules

My Take

Two STRONG entries in this list. I already gave my opinion on FATE but I think 13th Age is a GREAT RPG with enough crunch and story driven elements. Very nice RPG.

Best Setting

My Take

Right here is the category where Numenera excels. The setting is a wonderful mix of sorcery as science with a dash of post-holocaust goodness. A very complete and detailed setting.

Best Supplement

Best Software

  • Roll20 – The Orr Group LLC *GOLD*
  • Realm Works – Lone Wolf Development *SILVER*

My Take

Interested that Realm Works won here even though it is fairly new. If I was not so hooked on OneNote it might be worth giving it a go.

Best Writing

Best Website

My Take

SO glad RPGGeek won here. I am such a fan of their site. I just LOVE having my entire collection and want list managed on their site. Their news entries were “upgraded” recently and they rock. Highly recommended site.

Product of the Year

My Take

As I mentioned above I would reverse these but either way these are both wonderful.

2015 Judges

  • Annah Madrinan
  • Jakub Nowosad
  • Kayra Keri Kupcu
  • Kurt Wiegel
  • Stacy Muth

2014 Judges’ Spotlight Winners

  • Hooper: Hobomancer Companion – Hex Games
  • Kayra Keri Kupcu:  Deep Magic – Kobold Press
  • Stacy Muth: Rocket Age RPG – Cubicle 7 Entertainment
  • Jakub Nowosad: The Demolished Ones – Chronicle City/Rite Publishing
  • Kurt Wiegel: Weird Wars Rome – Pinnacle Entertainment Group

    My Take

    Weird Wars Rome is super cool. I think this Savage Worlds setting is more creative than Deadlands Noir but again…it is like comparing Mozart and Bach. Both are great in different lights.

    GAME ON! :D

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!