March 27, 2021

Nod by Nod - October 2010 (#5)

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.


NOD #5 is 83 pages with a striking cover of Death taking a knight. It begins with Eat, Drink, and Be Scary! which is 6 pages detailing about 25 different kinds of vampires from many different mythologies. An example would be the Tlahuelpuchi, which are not undead but cursed from birth to feed on blood once per month. They take the form of a vulture at night when they go to hunt but resume their normal form when they enter a house. They usually live with their families who hide them so they do not also become cursed. 

After that is Medieval Mining which gives us the basics of actual mining techniques in 2 pages and then goes on for 13 more pages detailing the many stones and metals which are mined: the ore it comes from, what it looks like, types of rock the ore is associated with, the methods of mining (and smelting), its uses, and its general value. Very useful stuff if you want adventures investigating a mine!

My favorite class to play in D&D is an illusionist. I love being able to use illusions in creative ways in order to solve problems. Here, The Illusionist takes 8 pages, most of which are spells. This version does not prepare spells but uses spell points instead. they gets 2 spell points at 1st level and each spell level costs 1 point. All of the illusionist's 1st level spells are new  and then there is a mixture of old new spells all the way up to level 9 spells. (Only the new spells are detailed in NOD #5. The rest are in Swords & Wizardry.) I have not played this version of the illusionist but it looks like great fun and I would love to try it out.

Next is the feature article, Ibis - City of Sorcerers, which is a city-state dominated by magic users. The theme given is "ancient Egypt in Renaissance costume". It is a huge city, detailed like NOD's hexcrawls, going for 25 pages. There is even a Court of Spirits, where on moonlit nights, you might experience Fairyland effects.

The second level of the dungeon The Pleasure Palace of Izrigul, introduced last issue is next. There are 8 pages where the cultists "play in their weird, profane wonderland." All I will say is that there is a Wine Elemental.

We then get a preview of John Stater's Mystery Men! RPG, and he shows the basic conceit of scaling up the D&D attributes and using experience points to buy levels and superpowers to make D&D a superhero RPG. To get powers, he recommends just using spells and this formula to determine the experience point value: spell level x caster level x 100. Many sample characters are given to show what can be done using this system. I have played the 2nd edition of the Mystery Men RPG and it works quite well. I recommend it.

Finally, there is part 4 of Phantastes. There are only two RPG notes this time: one about Fairy Shadow and one about the Fairy Palace. Both are cool concepts for use in any game that uses Fairyland.

NOD Magazine continues to be quality material. You can get the PDF of issue #5 at Lulu or in print at Lulu.
















February 13, 2021

Nod by Nod - September 2010 (#4)

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.




NOD #4 is 106 pages and is almost entirely the hexcrawl. It begins with the Medieval Bestiary which is 10 pages of strange creatures from European folklore. My favorite is the Panthera, which is a feline the size of a leopard that can create a cloud of perfume that acts as a charm spell.

Eastern Venatia is the feature article, a 75 page hexcrawl that also talks about the larger area that includes this hexcrawl and the ones in NOD #1-3. 

The next two articles are adventures, more detail for two of the hexes detailed in Eastern Venatia. The first is The Pleasure Palace of Izrigul, a seven level dungeon that only has the first level detailed in this issue. The second is The Ruins of Timulus, which is a complete 8-page adventure for mid-level adventurers.

Next is Gods of the Golden Sea, which has the same format as the previous articles on gods. This one is based on the mythologies of the eastern Mediterranean. 

Lastly, we get Phantastes, Part 3. The game notes talk about the nature of Fairyland and shadows. 

NOD Magazine continues to be quality material. You can get the PDF of issue #4 at Lulu or in print at Lulu.

January 09, 2021

Nod by Nod - July 2010 (#3)

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.


NOD #3 is 123 pages and starts with Beastmen of Nabu. You may recall that NOD #1 had an article on beastmen but that was a generic race for gnoles, orcs, ogres, hobgoblins, etc. This article is for specific beastmen that can be used as races or classes. There are very many of them in this article's 16 pages!
  • 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.
The next article is Gods of Nabu which covers Egyptian gods. This is the same format as Gods of Nod: Ophir in NOD #1 and describes 37 gods in 10 pages.

The Nabu Wastes is the feature article, a hexcrawl covering in 80 pages the eastern portion of the map in NOD #1. It is an Egypt-like land with dragon men, ant man, giraffe centaurs, along with the beastmen covered in the first article. There are also quite a few ancient tombs to explore.

Next is The Elementalist, a class that commands the elemental spirits to do their bidding. In effect, they can cast certain spells by performing a ritual and having an elemental spirit perform the spell. There are 12 new spells included.

Then there is The Druids of Nod, which gives us the druid class and 26 new spells.

Lastly, we get Phantastes, Part 2, which like in Part 1 found in NOD #2, we get some game notes. This one has notes on fairy food, Sir Percival, and the Alder maidens (tree spirits). 

I enjoyed NOD Magazine #3. You can get the PDF of issue #3 at Lulu or in print at Lulu.