NOD 12 – Just in time for 2011!

NOD 12 is ready to go. You can buy the electronic version HERE now – I’ll put the print version up for sale as soon as I get a proof copy and make sure it isn’t totally screwed up. What do you get in 144 pages?

Welcome Back to Hell – The southern portion of the Glooms, Acheron and the first two rings of Hell.

Pandaemonium V – Stats for Asmodee, Barbatos and Naamah.

Deep Denizens II – Drow, duergar, notac-ichat and svirfneblin as playable races. Art by Jon Kaufman.

The Gourmand – The PC class that takes a bite out of … no – I can’t do that bit here.

Exotic Dining – Random tables for generating bizarre feasts.

Hero vs. Villain – A new article series that presents one original villain and one rejuvenated Golden Age hero for Mystery Men! This inaugural article presents the villainous Shatter and the heroic Madame Strange. Art by Stefan Grambart.

Mutant Truckers – A mini-game using Target 10 depicting the highways of post-apocalyptic America and the truckers who drive them. Art by Bradley K. McDevitt and Chris Huth.

Hope everyone enjoys it. The projects up ahead for me – today I try to finish putting together a glimpse of the next hex crawl, the savannah of Pwenet and jungle of Cush, for Fight On! because I’ve owed them an article for the better part of a year and because part of it might relate to a project somebody else is writing for Frog God Games set in NOD (blows my mind).

The weekend will be spent converting a few more levels of Rappan Athuk to Swords and Wizardry. After that, my focus is on NOD 13, Blood and Treasure and Space Princess.

So little to do, so much time. Wait – scratch that and reverse it.

Mutations on the Polyester Road

About 99% finished with my Mutant Truckers article for NOD 12. Thought I’d share the mutation tables to give folks an idea about just how mutant-y the game is. In general, Polyester Road doesn’t go as far down the mutant path as Gamma World and Mutant Future. Because it’s a mini-game/setting, I wanted to keep it focused and keep it from being too long. So, there is a small table of mutations – physical and mental, for folks to roll on. Characters can trade one hit dice for one mutation. Each mutation carries with it a 1 in 6 chance of a negative side effect (radioactive scrambled DNA can be dangerous, you know). Referees can use the same process to mutate monsters, bandits and bears (i.e. county mounties) – trade a hit dice for a random mutation. Hopefully, this will keep the mutations from dominating the game, but still allow for some fun variation of the characters.

On a side note – I think the next big hex crawl in NOD will be Hell, based very loosely on Dante’s version, with a little Milton and lots of pulpy/gonzo nonsense thrown in for flavoring. The first hurdle will be mapping Hell – it’s circular and I have no idea how big it should be or what scale would work best. Still, should be an interesting exercise and provide readers with plenty of demonic and diabolical challenges for their game groups. Also gives me an excuse to use that devil cover I premiered a few months back!

Mutant Truckers of the Polyester Road

I’m still working on my hex crawl for the next issue of NOD – it will feature the eastern half of Mu-Pan hex crawl first presented in NOD 8 – and was brainstorming on other articles I could include. Of course, the Chimera generator will show up, maybe with some refinements. Some magic items will pop in, I think, but I what I really wanted to do was feature another Campaign Sketchbook, like the one that has now morphed into 1800 – American Empires.

The most likely candidate was the Polyester Road post-apocalyptic notion I had a few months ago, but I couldn’t come up with a satisfying hook and wasn’t sure what I was going to do. And then, on the drive home yesterday, I happened to hear this …

I started thinking, “You know, Shy Town and Shakeytown sound like names for cities in a game of Mutant Future …” and then it all came together.

So – NOD 10Mutant Truckers of the Polyester Road. I’m envisioning a mini-game with quick character generation, a small list of mutations (and negative side effects), four classes (driver, mechanic, gunner and outrider), some equipment – mostly focusing on taking a century old big rig and equipping it for post-apocalyptic highways, some info on the surviving cities, buying and selling cargo, breaking the drive into “legs” with random events (break downs, gang attacks, bear patrols, freak storms) occurring on each leg, town encounters, etc. Hopefully will come together and be cool. I’ll definitely need some artwork, though – of all the public domain artwork floating around the internet, I doubt there are many mutant truckers floating around out there.

Cavalcade of Stuff

A few random bits and pieces today. I’m trying to get some traction on finishing Mystery Men! and writing the Mu-Pan material, but mostly working on the conversion of Tome of Horrors and writing encounters/lairs for all the beasties therein. Lots of fun, but lots of work as well. Currently up to mid-“S”, have until end of March to finish. Pray for me. Sending HCC #3 off to the Frog God today (if I don’t forget to). So, enjoy some random junk …

My wife was quizzing my daughter on ancient China, and one question about what the called the trade route from China to the west had as a possible answer “The Polyester Road”. Brainstorm.

Imagine post-apocalypse America. In this case, the apocalypse in question is a new ice age. The planet is colder and drier. Canada is under a sheet of ice, the U.S. Midwest is a sand sea desert and the Mississippi a mere trickle. Two population centers survive in North America. On the west coast you have folks living and farming from Southern California into Mexico, with almost all farmland going to grow food. On the east coast, you have large settlements from Virginia to Florida, with the most powerful and wealthy settlement being the city-state of Kinston (in what we now call North Carolina). Why is Kinston so powerful? They alone know the secret of making polyester. Yes, for societies that now wear two hundred year-old rags and animal pelts, that have to push all their resources into growing food, there is no more valuable material than polyester, the fabric of kings. Since the destruction of the Panama Canal, it has made economic sense for the merchants of California & Mexico to make their way across the Void Zone at the heart of North America along the famous Polyester Road to Kinston.

I’m picturing the well-to-do in leisure suits, the legions of Kinston in fiberglass/polyester armor, the city-state ruled by the Lords DuPont, etc.


That would be French singer Sylvie Vartan with Kong on the Champs Elysees. I can’t tell you the last time I had a chanteuse sit on my stomach in the middle of the street. Them big guys get ever’thin’. Via Kippage – NSFW


Nathanial Clark, “I approach the cavern.” Via Super Punch.


Freeride Mountain Biking, via Super Punch.

Ice Glacier Caves, via Super Punch.

Blue Arabian Desert via Astro_Soichi, my favorite astronaut.

The Human Planet from the BBC. Honestly, if I could pack a billionth of the wondrous-ness of this video into Nod, I’d be a happy man.


Perhaps my most aptly named file. Via Super Punch. Yeah, I like Super Punch.


Victorian Nurse-Bot by Doktor A. via Super Punch. Looks like the automatons I pictured running the Empire of Vex in the PARS FORTUNA setting.

Where is Your Gamma World?

Gamma World, and post-apocalyptic settings in general, are a frequent topic in the RPG blogosphere. Heck I follow more than a few sites dedicated to nothing else. Most are set in a Mad Maxian future, but when my friend Josh and I played Gamma World back in the day, we had something slightly different in mind, thanks to this …

Rock and Rule! I still have a soft spot in my heart for this little gem. Come on, admit it – Angel is the hottest mutant to ever grace the silver screen. So, where is your Gamma World?