Radio Active #10: Parenting and the Late Game, The Tomb, A Maze of Minotaurs

Radio Active PodcastRadio Active takes a turn into the supernatural with #10, offering a review of the F. Paul Wilson’s supernatural detective novel The Tomb as well as a review of the D&D-compatible monster source book A Maze of Minotaurs by Behemoth4.

I also talk about staying up late (or rather, getting up early) with a moody two-year-old and playing World of Warcraft at 3 a.m.

Getting the Podcast

Show Notes

  • World of Warcraft
    • 3 a.m. daughter. Late night gaming may build up your tolerance but it doesn’t make it any easier.
    • Finally gave in and decided to buy it, after transferring Nuketown to a new domain yielded me a few extra bucks a month to play with.
    • I’m playing an Alliance mage named Zilanderan on the Thunderhorn server.
  • Novel: The Tomb
    • by F. Paul Wilson
    • Tor Books
    • Released in 1984
    • Buy it from
    • The novel that introduced the world to Repairman Jack, a shadowy hero who repairs situations rather than appliances.
    • Reads like a potboiler detective novel, with the pressure increasing as Jack investigates the case of a missing British woman and slowly uncovers an ancient vendetta he may be powerless to stop. It’s a fast, easy read that’s great for someone who grew up on the spy and superhero genres.
    • Jack’s a great character, like a modern day Indiana Jones who never has to leave the New York Metropolitan area for adventure, or a capitalist Dirk Pitt
    • He lives on the fringe of society as a sort of libertarian Batman, though one focused on putting right personal injustices rather than battling supervillains, only to turn them into the proper authorities when it’s all over.
    • The libertarian angle — refusing to pay taxes or homage to the U.S. (or any country) — isn’t overplayed — it’s just part of who Jack is, and given his backstory, it works well.
    • Rating: 8/10
  • Master & Minions: Maze of the Minotaur
    • Behemoth4
    • by Brian Stith
    • ISBN: 0976046725
    • Book 2 of the Horde Series
    • Released in 2004
    • Web Site:
    • Buy it from
    • Monsters & Minions series focuses on individual monsters within the D&D pantheon, providing a comprehensive look at some of the iconic monsters of the game.
    • I reviewed the first book, A Swarm of Stirges, for Nuketown and found it to be a fun, it a little unbalanced, take on the stirge. And by unbalanced, I’m talking more about the approach than the game design; some aspects of the stirge (like it’s life cycle) were played straight, while others — like the stirge-riding pixies known as ashmalkin seemed just too munchkinesque for my tastes.
    • Maze of the Minotaur is a more consistent book, but its usefulness depends largely on what you think of the book’s take on minotaurs.
    • The book creates an entire minotaur society that builds on the defining aspect of minotaurs in mythology: their maze lairs.
    • A detailed ecology is given that explains how these lairs arise in the wilderness,. To that end, it discusses the classic minotaur, as well as nearly a half-dozen support monsters:
      • the minotaur (the typical male)
      • the minotrice (the typical female),
      • the maze mage (which offers druidic spells for confounding intruders)
      • the tauron (near-mindless cattle who carve out the mazes using magical tunnelling abilities)
      • the new “bull lord” (a fearsome advanced minotaur who rules them all. Also available as a prestige class).
    • Book includes several sample NPCs, encounter write-ups, a sample lair, and a detailed appendix that stats out sample monsters.
    • I’ve got to admit that the ecology of the minotaur isn’t something I’ve given much thought to. They always just sort of … existed. Reading through this book, I found it presents a comprehensive ecology of the creatures, yet as reading it I couldn’t help but struggle with the nature of the minotaur. The basic idea is that these are man-killing humanoid hybrids, but when it gets right down to it, they’re glorified cows. That’s not a fact one really thinks about normally when contemplating the lone minotaur in a dungeon, but as part of a larger ecology … well, I can’t help but wonder why these normally plant-chomping bovine creatures suddenly developed a taste for human flesh.
    • I found it difficult to reconcile my images of hoofed mammals chewing their cud with the lion pride metaphor the authors chose for this source book.
    • This is, admittedly, my hang-up. The book does a decent job tackling its subject matter, and it does provide a cohesive ecology that makes sense from a fantastical point of view. I don’t think I’d use it in my campaign, simply because of the contradictions I mentioned. People who don’t share my hang-ups though should check it out; it certainly makes it easy to run a shake-and-bake minotaur society.
    • Rating 7/10
  • Coming Up on Radio Active
    • Radio Active #11 will feature a review of Midnight Syndicate’s The 13th Hour.
  • Contacting Nuketown Radio Active
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