Maps of Nod

If you look just below the LAND OF NOD title at the top of the blog, you will see a link to a map page housing all of the maps I’ve published so far. New maps will appear here as they are published. These maps are larger and clearer versions of what appears in the published books, and might come in handy to folks who want to Referee games in NOD.

July Sales Report

In case folks are interested in how much product I’m actually moving …

NOD #1 (e-book) – FREE – 463 downloads (+90 since June)
NOD #1 (print) – $9.00 – 12 sales (+6 since June)

NOD #2 (e-book) – $3.50 – 11 sales (+8 since June)
NOD #2 (print) – $9.00 – 10 sales (+5 since June)

NOD #3 (e-book) – $3.50 – 5 sales
NOD #3 (print) – $10.00 – 4 sale

Total Sales – 42 (+28 since June)

The print sales of #1 really warm my heart, since it means people were willing to pay for otherwise free content, but of course I’m thankful to everyone who has bought a copy of NOD, and really hope you find the content useful.

The 15% off sale on the print version of NOD #2 runs until August 15 – just use the code “BEACHREAD305”.

Christmas in July?!?!?

Got an email today about a Christmas in July sale on Lulu – 20% off with the code “Santa305”. That would make today and tomorrow great times to pick up any products you’ve had your eye on from the Old School Renaissance. Personally, I’m picking up OSRIC (finally) and Fight On! #9.

On Venatia – Part Eleven

4718 Sacellum of Mitra: Nomer, a powerful priest of Mitra has established a fortified abbey in a pleasant valley ringed by wooded ridges and sparkling rills. Nomer’s abbey is constructed in the Roman style prevalent in the grand city-state of Nomo, the place of Nomer’s nativity. The principal stone used in construction is limestone, supplemented with marble columns and lintels and gleaming brass ornaments. The abbey houses ten lesser clerics and their warhorses. The abbey sits atop a small rise next to the stream that flows through the valley. It consists of a large chapel to Mitra in which services for the priests and villagers are held each Sunday, storage rooms and simple living cells for the priests, including Nomer. The abbey also has a man-made grotto constructed beneath it in which private rituals are held for the priests. The ultimate goal of the Mitra-ites is to clear the woodlands of monsters and bring Mitra’s light to the villagers of the coast.

The abbey is surrounded by a village of 400 pious yeomen farmers, all free men and women which is defended by a wooden palisade with a moat and three wooden towers. The yeomen farmers live in timber longhouses built atop columns of bricks, for the valley is prone to violent weather and the stream often floods. They raise crops of barley and turnips, and the clerics maintain a vineyard and produce a middling wine. The village is protected by a force of 60 archers (leather armor, short bow, spear) commanded by 4 sergeants and 20 horsemen (chainmail, shield, horseman’s mace, light lance) commanded by 3 sergeants.

A treasure of 3,015 cp, 239 sp, 250 ep, 486 gp and 198 pounds of barley corn (worth 1 gp/lb) is kept in the village. The priests possess 1,147 sp, 2,061 gp, two hyacinths (gemstones worth 1,250 gp each) and ten coconuts given to them by a South Seas trader who sought curative magic. The coconuts are worth 10 gp each.

• Nomer, Cleric Lvl 12: HP 45; AC 1 [18]; Save 4; Special: Spells (6th); Platemail, shield, mace, holy symbol. Muscular and bitter, his love was spurned by a highborn lady of Nomo – this rejection spurred him to become an adventurer, and though he is dedicated to Mitra, his feelings sometimes bubble to the surface, especially around petit brunettes.

• Cleric of Mitra: HD 2; AC 1 [18]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6); Move 9; Save 15; CL/XP 3/60; Special: One 1st level cleric spell; Platemail, shield, mace, holy symbol, blue mantle, white surcoat emblazoned with a blue bull.

4909 Bear Totem: A very shallow cave in the side of a mountain overlooking a rushing stream of white water holds the skeleton of a large cave bear. The skeleton is a mere pile of bones with the skull sitting atop the pile, and it has been decorated with smears of blue paint and eagle feathers. The walls of the cave are decorated with cave paintings of bears and hunters. The skeleton is an idol of Arcturus, the Lord of Bears, and must be propiated with offerings of meat. If such offerings are not made, adventurers passing through the mountains have a 1 in 6 chance each hour of encountering 1d3 cave bears, who will attempt to kill one person and drag their remains back to the idol as an offering.

4921 Rotting Circus: A caravan of brightly colored wagons is circled on a pleasant meadow overlooking a rushing stream. As one approaches, it becomes evident that the wagons are in terrible disrepair and that there doesn’t seem to be any movement around the wagons, although there is a flickering fire. The traveling entertainers, some months back, took a fortune teller named Morcerth into their ranks. Unfortunately, Morcerth turned out to be a necromancer, and in short order the entertainers had been murdered and raised as leper zombies. Morcerth is using them as his guardians while he searches for an entrance to the Netherworld that he believes lies hidden in the Forest of Dread. Morcerth’s treasure consists of 6,219 gp, 29 pp, a terracotta lamp he claims once held a genie and a cursed -1 dagger that he will offer in exchange for his safety, if hard pressed.

• Leper Zombies (19): HD 1; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 claw or bite (1d6); Move 9; Save 17; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Disease, those slain animate as leper zombies.

• Morcerth, Magic-User Lvl 7: HP 22; AC 9 [10]; Save 9; Special: Spells (4th); Velvet robes of crimson, mauve and saffron, over-large golden turban with pearls (fake) and ostrich plumes, gnarled black wand.

5109 Azure Road: The hills here are divided by a winding avenue of gleaming blue stone that almost looks like a river. Large burrows at the start of the road are home to five giant owls who, if communicated with, will warn people to stay away from the road, for it leads only to their doom. The road extends into the center of the hex, so for about 3 miles as the crow flies, though its winding way actually totals about 5 miles. While walking on the road, there is a 1 in 6 chance each mile of an encounter with 2d6 blue flagstone spiders. The road eventually leads to a dark, wet cave choked with grey moss and hanging vines of a sickly yellow (a yellow musk creeper). The creepers control ten yellow musk zombies. The caverns beyond are said to lead, eventually, to the gates of the Underworld.

• Flagstone Spider: HD 1d4 hp, AC 3 [16]; Atk 2 claws (1d2), bite (0 hp + poison); Move 15; Save 18; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Poison (+4 save or die), surprise on 1-3 on 1d6.

• Yellow Musk Creeper: HD 3; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 dust burst (2d6 + hypnosis); Move 0; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Hypnotic dust, intelligence drain.

• Yellow Musk Zombies: HD 2 (12, 12, 12, 11, 11, 10, 9, 8, 8, 7 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 slam (1d6); Move 12; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Immune to mind affects.

5112 Poisonous Meadow: Towards the center of this hex the hills flatten and become a large meadow. The meadow is lousy with deadly nightshade and holds the lair of seven chaotic pixies with poisonous personalities. Encounters with the pixies are a certainty, for they love to harass travelers. Encounters with giant centipedes occur on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6, night and day.

• Pixie: HD 1 (7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 3); AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 dagger (1d4 + poison) or arrow; Move 6 (Fly 15); Save 17; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Arrows (cause amnesia), magic resistance 25%, spells (polymorph self, invisibility, dancing lights, dispel magic 1/day, permanent confusion 1/day with successful hit and negated by a saving throw).

5317 Retired Veteran: A craggy old borc (a centaur that is half orc and half boar) has retired in this hex to a cave overlooking a stream that flows into a pond. The area has ample game, and the borc has set the surrounding area with a variety of traps. The borc is still rowdy in his old age, and is willing to train fighting-men (especially barbarians) for a jug of wine, ale or spirits and a chance to tell war stories. His treasure, buried in a terracotta pot, consists of 9,814 cp, 1,265 ep, 405 gp, a terracotta statuette of Orcus worth 4 gp and 16 golden wolf skins worth 8 gp each.

• Borc: HD 4 (21 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 halberd (1d10) or 1 longbow (1d8); Move 15; Save 13; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Berserker (+2 to hit), can fight to -6 hit points.

5503 Boiling Pool: A boiling pool of water sits amidst the ruins of an ancient temple built by the lizard kings to what appears to have been a six-legged crocodilian creature with a single giant, saucer-like eye. The pool is inhabited by vapor cranes, 4 large adults, 8 small adults and 4 fledglings. The bird’s boiling bodies can be deadly to touch. One standing wall of the temple has a secret cache that holds a golden face mask of the crocodilian god worth 100 gp.

• Large Adult Vapor Crane: HD 5; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (1d4+5); Move 5 (Fly 12); Save 12; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Scalding to touch, steam cloud (1d6+5) in cone or 15-ft radius.

• Small Adult Vapor Crane: HD 2; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (1d4+2); Move 5 (Fly 12); Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Scalding to touch, steam cloud (1d6+2) in cone or 15-ft radius.

• Fledgling Crane: HD 1; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (1d4+1); Move 5 (Fly 12); Save 12; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Scalding to touch, steam cloud (1d6+1) in cone or 15-ft radius.

How Do People Find The Land of Nod?

Looking at my blog stats – here are the search terms that directed people to my blog this week …

Search Keywords

land of nod rpg blog (3)

john stater nod free (3)

land of nod blog (2)

bahama underwater caves vortex (2)

john stater nod (2)

land of nod d&d (1)

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alp demons breast milk (1)

I love that people found their way here by searching for Liberace in a bathtub and alp demon breast milk!

Pars Fortuna Preview #5 – Magic!

So, part of my concept for PARS FORTUNA is introducing alternate rules. While the RPG will contain the old tried-and-true Vancian system for those who love it, the assumed magic system for the game is something different.

The Spell Interval System
The Spell Interval system assumes that casting spells involves gathering eldritch energies and then releasing them, with the words, gestures and tools that are involved shaping that “energy” to produce the desired effect. The more powerful a spell, the more energy it takes – i.e. the higher the level of the spell, the longer it takes for the magician’s body (and soul?) to absorb the needed energy to power the spell.

The spell level intervals are as follows: Each hour, you may cast one first level spell; each day you may cast one second level spell; each week you may cast one third level spell; each month one fourth level spell; each year one spell each of the sixth, seventh eighth and ninth levels.

Naturally, the average magician will not be satisfied with these restrictions, and will seek a way around them. Magicians can attempt to cast spells over and beyond what is allowed, but doing so can be dangerous. When a spell-caster wishes to cast additional spells of a level, he must make a saving throw, subtracting the level of the spell he wishes to cast from his roll. If successful, he channels and masters the energies necessary and casts the desired spell. If he fails, he must face the consequences, which include mental and physical deformities and supernatural curses. The more powerful the spell a magicians fails to cast, the more potentially disastrous the consequences!

Magical Tools
I’ve always enjoyed the idea of magicians carrying all sorts of odd objects and materials in order to work their art. Advanced versions of our favorite game have included material components for years, and they are often ignored because they are difficult to track. PARS FORTUNA uses a similar concept, as follows:

Level 1 to 3 spells are classified as “Cantraps” and require a fetish to cast. Each spell requires a different sort of fetish, and the fetish is not consumed in casting the spell – it is merely a cheap tool, composed of ordinary, mundane objects, that the magician must hold in his hand to successfully shape his magical energies into a spell.

Level 4 to 6 spells are classified as “Invocations” and require a tool (or set of tools) to cast. These tools are more expensive than the fetishes required by cantraps, and include arthames (mystic knives), censers and wands.

Level 7 to 9 spells are classified as “Rituals” and require expensive gems to cast. Unlike the fetishes and tools, these gems are consumed during the casting of the spell.

Sample Cantraps

Irritation (Cantrap)
Spell Level: 1
Range: 30 ft.
Duration: 1d4 rounds
Focus: Leaves from poison ivy, oak or sumac tied into a bundle with twine

You cover the target’s body in an itching sensation that lasts 1d4 rounds. For the duration, the target takes a –1 penalty on attack rolls, damage rolls and saving throws, and suffers a –1 penalty to its Armor Class if it fails a saving throw. The creature can scratch, negating the penalties for that round. Creatures that have thick hides are immune to this version of irritation.

Pitch Sight (Cantrap)
Spell Level: 2
Range: 30 ft.
Duration: 1 minute per level
Focus: A small piece of phosphorescent lichen held tightly in right fist

The caster and her allies can see normally through normal and magical darkness.

Curse of Light (Cantrap)
Spell Level: 3
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 hour/level
Focus: A tiny sack of phosphorus

You make the subject extremely sensitive to light. Abrupt exposure to bright light blinds the subject for 1d4 rounds. On subsequent rounds, they suffer a –1 penalty to all attack, damage and saving throw rolls.

Sample Invocations

Exorcise (Invocation)

Spell Level: 4
Range: 10 ft.
Duration: Instantaneous
Tool: Bolline (sickle) swung over the target’s head

You negate possession of a creature or object by any force. When you cast this spell, the possessing force may make a saving throw to resist you. If unsuccessful, the possessing creature is ejected from the host and stunned for one round. A creature affected by this spell cannot attempt to possess the same host for one day.

If cast against disembodied spirits, the spell forces those spirits to make a saving throw or flee away from the magician and keep at least 30 feet away for 1 hour.

Ghost Walk (Invocation)
Spell Level: 5
Range: Personal
Duration: 1 minute/level
Tool: Amulet set with a mirror

You become incorporeal, similar to a ghost. While ethereal, other ethereal creatures can harm you, as well as material creatures that use magic weapons and spells. You are immune to all non-magical attack forms, are not burned by normal fires, and are unaffected by natural cold or harmed by mundane acids.

You can move in any direction (including up or down) at will and with perfect maneuverability. You do not need to walk on the ground. You can pass through solid objects at will, although you cannot see when your eyes are within solid matter.

You are inaudible unless you decide to make noise. You pass through and operate in water as easily as you do in air. You cannot fall or take falling damage. You have no weight and do not set off traps that are triggered by weight. You do not leave footprints, have no scent and make no noise.

Your physical attacks are ineffectual against material creatures. Your spells affect material creatures normally.

Gem Guard (Invocation)
Spell Level: 6
Range: See text
Duration: 1 hour per level
Tool: Athame, used to split the focus gem

You transform a gem into a scrying device. When the spell is cast, the two halves of a corundum worth at least 1,000 gp become linked. When you hold one, you may scry on the other at will. You can see everything within 50 ft. of the other half. Any creature with at least a 12 intelligence has a 1-2 on 1d6 chance of sensing your attention. Spells may be cast freely through the linking gem, and may target any creature within its sensor range. Area effect spells may damage the other half of the focus, which has 30 hit points.

Sample Rituals

Infinite Step (Ritual)
Spell Level: 7
Range: Sight
Duration: Instantaneous
Gem: Jacinth (50 gp)

You (with one other willing party) instantly transfer yourself from your current location to any other spot within sight. At 12th level, the magician may make a second step from the destination.

Edge of Oblivion (Ritual)
Spell Level: 8
Range: 60 ft.
Duration: Instantaneous
Gem: Onyx (100 gp)

This spell assaults the mind and body of the subject. The subject must make two saving throws, one boosted by any wisdom bonus the creature enjoys, the other by any constitution bonus. If the subject fails the wisdom saving throw, the spell deals 1d6 permanent ability damage to the target’s intelligence, wisdom or charisma, determined randomly. If the subject fails the constitution saving throw, the spell deals 1d6 permanent ability damage to the target’s strength, dexterity or constitution, determined randomly. The caster is stunned for one round following the casting of this spell.

Prismatic Helix (Ritual)
Spell Level: 9
Range: 60 ft.
Duration: 10 minutes per level
Gem: Opal (500 gp)

The visible effect of the prismatic helix is a stationary, slowly rotating, seven strand helix, one for each color in the spectrum. This helix is 5 feet in diameter and up to 20 feet high. Any creature of 8 HD or less that looks at the helix from less than 60 feet away is fascinated, unable to do anything but stare at the helix. There is no limit to the number of creatures that can be captivated in this manner.

Once per round, the helix shoots one ray at the nearest creature, using the magician’s attack bonus. Roll randomly on the table below for the effect.

1. Red: 2d6 points of fire damage
2. Orange: 4d6 points of acid damage
3. Yellow: 8d6 points of electricity damage
4. Green: Poison (save or die)
5. Blue: Turned to stone
6. Indigo: Stark, raving mad
7. Violet: Sent to another dimension
8. Struck by two rays, roll twice, ignore any “8”

Individual strands are destroyed by opposite effects (as determined by the Referee). If a particular color has been destroyed, and that color is rolled for a ray attack, re-roll until a valid color is selected.

On Venatia – Part Ten

3902 Rhodia: Rhodia is a citadel of 65 amazon warriors and 20 maidens. The citadel is constructed atop a rocky outcropping that has a commanding view of the woods in this hex. The citadel, which appears to predate the amazon habitation, is built of massive limestone blocks covered with shiny red tiles. The citadel sports six tall towers, several courtyards and a fortified palace wherein resides Vierna, a full-figured amazon with ash-blond hair and cool, deep-set gray eyes in a toga of charcoal. Vierna is protected by two bodyguards, Phyta and Minephe. She is never without her silver scepter (treat as a light mace) and steel shield. The palace contains a chapel dedicated to Minerva and tended by Xanaide and her three acolytes. The amazons work their own fields, which dot little clearings that surround the citadel. They mine iron, copper and tin from the surrounding hills with the help of three dozen kobold slaves, and trade finished weapons and armor for supplies with traders from Antigoon. Amazon patrols, consisting of a dozen warriors wearing chainmail and carrying shields, spears and long bows, are common in this hex and usually mounted on tough mountain ponies and accompanied by one of Xanaide’s acolytes bearing a brass owl standard that grants the amazons a +1 bonus to save vs. fear. Beneath the citadel there is a spider-infested dungeon in which the amazons have hidden the mythic Girdle of Hippolyta (treat as a belt of giant strength). Vierna owns a tame fire drake that she uses as a mount in times of dire emergency. It otherwise resides in the entrance to the aforementioned dungeon.

• Amazon: HD 2+1; AC 1 [18]; Atk 1 sword (1d8+1) or 1 bow (1d8+1); Move 15; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: +1 to hit and damage with sword and bow.

• Vierna, Amazon Fighting-Woman Lvl 10: HP 60; AC 1 [18]; Platemail, shield, long sword, 6 darts. Eccentric and aggressive.

• Xanaide, Amazon Cleric Lvl 7: HP 36; AC 1 [18]; Save 8; Special: Spells (3rd), turn undead; Platemail, shield, warhammer, holy symbol. Large blue eyes, golden hair in a long ponytail, high forehead, somber and severe.

• Phyta, Amazon Fighting-Woman Lvl 4: HP 25; AC 1 [18]; Save 13; Platemail, shield, long sword.

• Minephe, Amazon Fighting-Woman Lvl 3: HP 19; AC 1 [18]; Save 14; Platemail, shield, long sword.

3922 Goddess of the Tree: Lodged in the hollow of a dead tree is a 2-ft tall soapstone idol of a voluptuous women with the head of a gorilla sitting cross-legged with a illegible tablet in her lap. Anyone who argues with the holder of this idol is polymorphed into a toad.

4211 Dangerous Bridge: This hex is trisected by an extremely deep chasm, the lowest reaches of which are filled with a black, murky lake inhabited by sapphire-skinned mountain squid and a dizzying array of shellfish. At approximately the center of this hex, a bridge of three massive bronze spans and mica tiles crosses the chasm from west to southeast and northwest. Three massive gnasher lizards are sunning themselves on the bridge and, though reluctant to move as a rule, will happily charge any prey foolish enough to wander onto their bridge.

• Gnasher Lizard: HD 9 (53, 46, 41 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (2d6); Move 12; Save 6; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Behead on natural ‘20’, bite victims must save or br swallowed whole (2d6 acid damage each round).

4308 Stone Forest: A petrified forest fills a magically silent valley in this hex. Even the animals of the forest have been petrified, but their ghosts haunt the dead woods. A partially tumbled tower in the middle of the forest is home to a dragon and a magic sword.

4413 Abandoned Forge: Volcanus and his cyclopean assistants one forged powerful weapons and armor in this volcano, which has now cooled considerably and has thus been abandoned. The forge is located in a giant, vaulted cavern that has been scrupulously carved into palatial splendor. Connected to the forge room are dozens of storage chambers, now all empty save for a few bars of steel and other odds and ends. The center of the main cavern is dominated by a fire pit 30 ft in diameter. The forge’s bellows are still operated by a giant brass chimpanzee, an automaton created by Volcanus himself and abandoned when the forge was abandoned. The chimpanzee keeps the fire pit filled with coal and hot – hot enough that nine fire snakes have made it their lair. They ignore the chimpanzee, and the chimpanzee ignores them. The coal is dug and delivered by five small bronze moles with ruby eyes (worth 50 gp each).

• Brass Chimpanzee: HD 4+1 (18 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8+1); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 5/240; Special: None.

• Bronze Mole: HD 1+1; AC 4 [15]; Atk 2 claws (1d6+1); Move 6; Save 17; CL/XP 2/30; Special: None.

• Fire Snake: HD 2 (12, 11, 10, 10, 9, 8, 5, 5, 4 hp); AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bire (1d4); Move 6; Save 16; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Poison, immune to fire, surprise.

4508 Fountain of the Gods: Actually, a fountain of the storm giants, in a great vaulted cavern that connected (via a winding stair) to a palace long since razed to the ground. The cavern walls are mottled with shades of magenta, blue and greenish-yellow and measures 300 ft in diameter and 60 ft from floor to ceiling. The fountain is stark, white marble ornamented with gold filigree (long since stolen) and a center piece with four giant brass heads with spouts in their open mouths. The water flows from the fountain in a such a large quantity that it overflows and in fact form the head waters of two mighty rivers that emerge from caves (which form the principal entrances, north and south, to the cavern). The bottom of the fountain is covered in 2 inches of gold dust that is claimed by the storm giants and thus carries a terrible curse. Anyone attempting to steal the gold will discover their flesh slowly transform into the sparkling metal, starting with their fingers and toes and moving inward a couple inches each day. Just inside the northern cave entrance, in a small alcove of sorts, lies the skeleton of one unlucky robber; three quarters of the woman’s skin was turned to gold and now lies an empty shell but for her dry bones.

A Terrible Idea is Making the Rounds

At A Terrible Idea, they’ve come up with a pretty good idea – a community effort to pay an artist to create 60 character portraits – each about 2.5″ square – that will be released into the Creative Commons, and thus usable by guys like me, who publish game material, and by folks who just want to find a little character portrait for their games. I threw $10 into the ring, and if you would like to give to the cause, see the widget below.

If you do not want to be involved, please see the Gidget below …

And yeah, I went Sandra Dee over Sally Fields – I’m retro like that.