Over at https://landofnod.blog/ you can find posts by John Stater called Dragon by Dragon where he reads through an issue of Dragon Magazine and gives his thoughts about it. I recently bought a big pile of NOD Magazine and thought I would return the favor and go through each issue similarly.
February 13, 2021
January 09, 2021
- Goat people are great climbers, can see spirits, and can cast spells. (There are 24 new spells included in this issue!)
- Monkey people are fast climbers, acrobats, great at picking pockets and magic tricks, and are masters at low comedy and vulgar insults. They also go berserk when brought down to 5 or fewer hit points.
- Bear people are master brewers and wrestlers. Their mead can heal light wounds.
- Falcon people are quick, can spring around and use whirling death during combat.
- Lion people have a mighty roar that can cause fear in creatures with less hit dice. They also have a charge attack and can command animals.
- Cat people have keen hearing, are light-footed, and have an evasion power. They can also cast a small number of spells.
- Sheep people have a defensive stance, can ignore 1 point of damage, and have trap sense.
- Onager people are fearless, stubborn, charioteers.
- Horse people can command more henchmen, have better horses, and are better in mounted combat.
- Fox people have great perception, can move silently, and know herblore and a few spells.
- Night raven people are great at thievery and can prepare body parts to make them foci for casting spells.
- Camel people sings desert psalms that can ward away animals and the undead also know 2 more languages than normal.
- Swine people are great dungeon delvers who have a nose for gold and can decipher ancient texts.
January 03, 2021
December 30, 2020
We start off Nod #2 with Cloak and Dagger, an article giving us a Thief and Assassin class. They're fine classes but there's nothing that really stands out with them.
December 22, 2020
NOD #1 came out in May 2010 and is 85 pages long. Mr. Stater starts (after the Table of Contents) with Welcome to NOD! where he gives some of his campaign design philosophy: only make what matters in game and also make a wide world of many cultures to explore. NOD Magazine is going to show us what he means.
The first article is one page about coins, how much they weigh, how much a character can carry, and how much they're worth. It gives us a good baseline for the loot that will be shown later.
Next, we have Fighting-Men of Nod, which details six classes: the fighting-msn, the barbarian, the bard, the monk (or swashbuckler if a monk does not fit in your campaign), the paladin, and the ranger. Each of thee classes get some special abilities at 1st level, and a few more as they progress in levels. All look fun, well made, and the abilities are light touches suitable for an OSR game.
Speaking of abilities for OSR games, the ensuing article Boons & Benefactions is all about abilities that characters can choose at 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th level. There are 43 of them and and a great way to do feats in an OSR style.
Then we get the biggest article, The Wyvern Coast. It is a sandbox complete with a two-page hex map and hex descriptions. We get a description of the area: the grasslands, the sea, and the coast, along with encounter tables and creatures. This article is 60 pages long and is a sizable adventure area just by itself. I don't want to say too much about it so as not to give spoilers but it is very imaginative and looks very fun. The black & white map is hard to read, however, and I suggesting getting the color maps Mr. Stater provides at https://landofnod.blog/nod/.
The article after is Wise Women & Cunning Men which is about adepts, practical spellcasters of rural folk. They are magically less powerful than clerics or magic-users but they have another skill that serves their community. (Pick one of alchemist, animal trainer, armorer, berserker, guide, healer, or sage.)
Next are Gods of Nod: Ophir which details the gods of the Wyvern Coast, based on the gods of the ancient Phoenicians. I like these god descriptions as stats are not given but instead we get the god's name, other names it is known by, who worships the god, what weapons the god uses, what are the god's minions, symbols of the god, alignment of the god, and what the god grants its priests (which is a unique spell detailed in this article). It is a great way to do gods.
After that is Random Villages which is a couple pages of random tables to create a village. An example village rolled on these tables is given: 200 cowardly shellfish fishermen that live in brick huts protected by a thicket getting their water from a cistern ruled by a council of elders have a den of assassins or highwaymen, and are famous for their dark secrets.
Denizens of the Dark Continent gives stats for some legendary creatures of African folklore. I especially like the Abatwa.
Beastmen, Centaurs & Mechanical Men is next and it details 3 "races" to put in to differentiate your campaign from the "traditional" fantasy campaign.
The last article is Your Mind Will Bend, detailing a Psychic class. there are twenty psychic powers to choose from and a psychic gets one at 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th levels. To use a psychic power, you must succeed at a saving throw and the target must fail at their saving throw. Looks very interesting yet still simple, which is a hallmark of Mr. Stater's.
I very much enjoyed NOD Magazine #1 and look forward to reading more! You can get the PDF for NOD #1 for free at https://landofnod.blog/nod/ or you can get it in print from Lulu at https://www.lulu.com/shop/john-stater/nod-1/paperback/product-11387029.html.
August 27, 2020
Do you play the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG? Are you interested in playing in or running a wuxia campaign? Please take a look at this and please let me know any comments or criticisms you may have or if you would you like to collaborate to expand on these ideas!
July 31, 2020
While the others spy on troops, rescue the king, and muster the human forces, these three slowly realize that this is THE sword and that Shea must face the Warlock lord with it. They are captured by trolls and Keltset eloquently (through bearing and sign language) pleads their case. And the trolls are persuaded and bring them to face the Warlock Lord.
And this is where I think it gets really interesting. The sword doesn't do anything sword-like. It might as well be a rock or a shoe. All it does is reveal truth. First Shea faces the truth about himself and then he forces the Warlock Lord to face the truth about himself. Unfortunately, the truth about the Warlock Lord, like any undead being, is that he should have been dead long ago. So he dies.
Have you done that sort of thing in your game? Give the evil forces information that turns them to your side? Use revealing truth in a devastating way? In what seems to be a story derivative of another, I like how this story changes things in interesting ways. Don't be afraid to let things change in your game!