Gen Con SoCal ‘04: My Afternoon with Behemoth3

It was another long day, yesterday. Covering this convention by myself has been a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. I have a ticket for an afternoon game of True Dungeon today. That should be fun.

Yes, Green Ronin had Noir for Mutants and Masterminds yesterday. I had only a few minutes to look at it and snap a photo. It looks pretty good. Nice illustrations, nice layout. Blah blah blah. Okay look, I’ll try to take a closer look at it so I can say something a little more useful.

I ran into to Justin Gary yesterday. I sat at the same table with him during the Magic: The Gathering World Championships press conference. Back then he was working with Wizards of the Coast helping them get their online streaming video going. In case you didn’t know this already, he’s gone over to the enemy. He was wearing a black Upper Deck shirt. He said, “Hey! I had a price,” he said, “and they met it.” Awesome. He’ll be doing game design for Upper Deck.

So, my editor, wanted to know what the deal was about the Maze of the Minotaur game that Behemoth3 was running. Apparently, what he had heard was that they were allowing people to play the minotaur. It turns out that the player actually has a choice of playing the minotaur(s) or the adventurers. They wanted to demonstrate a couple of points: 1.) that monsters could make perfectly acceptable player characters and 2.) that this game wasn’t nearly as imbalanced as it seemed. Tavis Allison, the president and editor of Behemoth3 said that we could play a game. When I asked him how long it would take he said. “Oh, ten or twenty minutes.”

“Okay,” I said, “bring it on.”

Nat Sims, the heavily bearded writer for Behemoth3 added, “Yeaaaah!”

The premise was simple: bull minotaurs like to battle it out on their own turf, and prefer to lure adventurers in to their lair. The minotaur had kidnapped a dwarf and hidden him away in his lair knowing that his buddies would be along to rescue him. Tavis showed me the features of the maze, tastefully done up in Dwarven Forge. I decided to play the minotaurs. He gave me the stats to the bull minotaur – a mega minotaur, with a great axe… on steroids. He allowed me to chose between two types of minotrices. What’s a minotrice? It’s basically a minotaur… with, um, boobs. The cool thing about minotrices is that, once a generation, an albino is born that can cast magic. I opted for the fighter minotrice. Tavis selected a rogue and a wizard. I figured out where the minotaurs were starting in the maze and the locations of the traps, the secret door and the bait – er, the dwarf. Behemoth3 had a hand drawn map on which to mark everything so that things could be kept secret.

Then the fun started. Before the adventurers descended into the lair the wizard cast Stoneskin on both the rogue and himself. Once inside, they located the general direction of the dwarf with another spell and headed out. They stepped into the first hallway and AAAAAaaaaa… right into the twenty foot pit trap. The rogue was not rolling well this game. My minotaurs converged on the location. I had the bull minotaur crash through a wall (which were not quite as strong as they looked) and charge the adventurers just as they were climbing out of the pit. Because the bull minotaur had Pounce, he was able to get the gore attack with his horns and his two great axe attacks. He did an appalling amount of damage. Any one of my current characters would have been a grease spot after this set of attacks. Stoneskin basically saved the rogue from eating it right there. The minotrice could not break through her wall so my turn ended there.

Then it was Tavis’ turn. The rogue whipped out a couple schmancy magic swords and laid into the minotaur. He hit once and rolled a natural 20 but did not confirm his crit. It turned out to be a lot of damage as I did not get my normal damage reduction. The wizard was still climbing out of the pit and that ended Tavis’ turn. Once again, I had the bull minotaur attack twice with the great axe. He hit twice and splattered the rogue. The minotrice still could not break down her wall. Finally, the wizard got his act together and cast Cone of Frost at the minotaur. He used the Change Effect feat and hit me with a Cone of Lightning. Brrrzzaaappp. Twenty seven points of damage. However, the lightning destroyed the wall in front of the minotrice. Yeah, as if things didn’t suck enough for the wizard. I attacked with the bull minotaur and the minotrice, and was about to slap that wizard back to 1st Edition when Ken Hite walked up with a friend. The game was put on hold for a bit. There was a conversation that included Tavis’ weird trip to a game convention in South Korea sponsored by their government. Finally, the game resumed. I hit for a total of fifty points of damage. That was enough for the wizard. He cast Dimension Door and split leaving the dwarf to his fate. There you have it people – a blow by blow of my game of Maze of the Minotaur.

We sat and talked for a bit about upcoming products. Rage of the Remorhaz will be available in .pdf form in January, while Maze of the Minotaur and A Swarm of Stirges are available for the first time in print in stores this month. Upcoming projects include: Horde Book 4: The Mummy, Medusas , and Iron Golems. I’ve heard rumors that Medusas will contain a race of serpent-folk but could get no one to officially confirm, or deny, these rumors.

The project that Behemoth3 is most excited about is New Iconics. It will be a book where characters usable as PCs or NPCs will have everything pre generated between levels 1 through 20. Did I say everything? I meant EVERYTHING. Stats? Done. Feats? Done. Equipment? Done. Spells? Done. They will have charts to roll for life events that occurred between levels and special one shot magic items that will supplement the standard gear. Of course if you don’t like something you can change it. New Iconics will be great for beginning players who want to start playing but don’t want to go through the hassle of creating a character. And it will be great for GMs who always need fully developed NPCs and antagonists on hand. Additionally, Behemoth3 seeks to create a sense of community where people can connect to one another having played the same character – the same iconics. Because there is a continuity of stats and skills, time travel or flashback adventures will be really easy to pull off. You can easily see where the characters came from and where they are going. By the way, a lot of this is laid out in an Excel spreadsheet that they plan to give away. I ‘m really looking forward to this product. I think it will make it easier for many new players to get into the game and really expand the possibilities of adventures. One last thing: Tavis was describing how the book was going to be illustrated. Some of the descriptions of the characters sounded vaguely familiar.