March 27, 2021

Nod by Nod - October 2010 (#5)

Over at 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.