Saints Come in All Sizes

Well, I finally missed a weekend post. In my defense, though … I thought I had remembered to post. Not much a defense, really, but what the heck!

Among other things I’m working on, NOD 36 is going to have a hexcrawl somewhat dominated by a country of halflings. These halflings have a faith modeled loosely on Medieval Christianity (very loosely), and thus they honor numerous saints as well as a supreme goddess. Here’s a sneak preview on this halfling faith:

Nertha
Mother Goddess

Nertha is the mother goddess of the halflings. She is believed to be the creator, teacher, and nourisher of the people. In this capacity, she is worshiped as a supreme deity by her cult. The cult is made up of an aristocratic priesthood who holds a great deal of secular power in the valley of the Yore. This is due to the relationships between the priesthood, which is drawn from the younger sons and daughters of the aristocracy, and the landed gentry of Yore, as well as from the vast land holdings of the cult.
The Yorrish liken the universe to a steaming vat of soup, stirred and tended by Nertha in her kitchen, aided by her kitchen saints. The other saints protect her kitchen, and the cosmic soup, from demons who wish to sample (and taint) the soup, or even spill it, destroying the universe and putting out Nertha’s eternal hearth, plunging all creation into blackness.

Saint Amalthy
Patron Saint of Learning and Childbirth

St. Amalthy was a teacher of the Lady who lived 200 years ago in the Southlands. Her cult is based in the Midlands, specifically at St. Amalthy’s Cathedral in Mook.
St. Amalthy was a midwife and strict disciplinarian who tend-ed her flock for fifty-eight summers. She was credited with several miracles associated with healings and divinations about children, and thus became a patron saint of childbirth and medicine. A learned woman, she wrote the much-copied Yorrish Herbal, the standard reference for Yorrish healers.

St. Amalthy’s feast day is Wind Month the 4th. It is observed with much singing and merriment, followed by a week spent in quiet devotion at her shrines. The faithful burn candles and leave newly harvested fruits, which are then dispersed to the hungry. Her followers are called Amalthyeans.

Saint Anka
Patron Saint of Resolve

St. Anka’s life is the source of an oft performed morality play. It is the story of a young girl, dedicated to the Lady, whose father was both a heretic and blasphemer. Although a respected farmer, he refused the Lady and continued in the worship of forest spirits. When he attempted to arrange a marriage between his daughter and an elf of the woodlands, Anka calmly refused. The elf carried her away, but she would neither consummate the marriage nor take food while so imprisoned. She kept the elf’s house and cooked his meals, but would in no way consent to his wooing. He tried music, fine foods, and delicate ballads, but nothing could change the girl’s mind. Eventually, the elf, who was much smitten by her beauty and dignity, pleaded with her father to convert to Mother Church and annul her marriage.

Wracked with guilt, Anka’s father consented. He rode straight away to the elf’s home in the woods, but was greeted with no sign of Anka. Instead, they discovered her bloodied garments, and the foot prints of a pack of wolves. Anka was canonized by Mother Church for her resolve and is considered a patron saint of resolve, especially against the temptations of sin.

The true story of Anka bears only a superficial resemblance to the passion plays and church teachings.

Anka was a beautiful and headstrong girl of the Northlands. Her father was a successful farmer, a country gentleman, who desired that his daughter take a husband. A terrible flirt, Anka had on many occasions consented to the pleadings of the country lads who formed her ever-present entourage.

Anka was taken with wooing and gift-giving, so she had no intention of taking a husband. Many candidates came forward, and always she refused their proposals, but accepted their gifts. One gift in particular, the giver she could never remember, was a silver chain into which were set a multitude of black gems. They seemed to swallow the light and at the same time shimmer gloriously. Anka would spend many hours lying in the meadows about her home, studying the strange (and cursed!) necklace in the sunlight and moonlight.

Eventually, a candidate for her hand came forward from the woodlands. An elf lord of great wit and wealth sought her hand in marriage. The marriage ceremony took place amidst much celebration, but Anka refused her husband’s wedding cake (the exchange of fairy-cakes is integral to the Yorrish wedding ceremony) on well-known religious grounds, and so began a hunger strike in his home in the woods.

Anka refused all food offered her, for how could she tell anyone that under her curse her only sustenance could be the fresh blood and flesh of humanoids; all other foodstuffs made her violently ill. She was visited by monks and nuns to lend her moral support, but the young men and women of her village knew of her dark side. Anka would lead them into the woods for wild reveries, initiating many of them into her intimacy and confidence. In truth, many of the monks and nuns who visited her were also initiated. It was on midsummer night that Anka, now a dedicated servant of evil, led her band into the forest for a final reverie in which a young and amorous halfling boy was sacrificed, his head kept as a shrunken token of his devotion.

Anka’s followers waited for her husband to arrive home from his hunting in the mountains. He was waylaid and sacrificed as well. Weeks later, Anka’s father also disappeared after a bloody struggle in his own home. Most people blamed brig-ands or wolves for the atrocities committed.

Anka and her band still lurk in the northern woods, where they lead black rites for the many monks and nuns who have fallen under her sway. Some clerics in the south are aware of the truth of Anka’s story and seek out her followers without rest, hoping to rid Mother Church of its most shameful secret.

Saint Benn
Patron Saint of Travel, Water and Bravery

St. Benn went to “sea” (the River Og) to convert the heathens that lived outside of Yore’s borders. Needless to say, it didn’t go well for a mouthy, preachy halfling with a habit of wagging his finger under people’s noses. Benn was martyred and has become a patron saint of travel, water and bravery.

Some sages believe that Benn is merely the Yorrish name for the River Og, and that rather than being a missionary he was really the presiding spirit of the river.
Bennites are known for their beautiful waterborne funerals, favored by southern merchants, and for their hospices, which cater to sailors and their families.

Saint Droppo
Patron Saint of Nervous Fidgeting

Droppo is the patron saint of nervous fidgeting, for it is said that whenever a false knave was in his presence he was unable to sit or stand still. The folk of his village attributed this to an inborn celestial character that made deceit anathema to him. He was duly sainted, a cathedral being built in the town of Skalagord where he lived and died. In religious iconography he is depicted in rough clothing and sandals holding a feather. His feast day is on the seventh day of Hay Month.

Church officials have since learned that Droppo was really a clod, often in on the schemes of charlatans who thought him a perfect stooge until he began accidentally giving away their schemes. They have chosen to believe he did this on purpose, and thus allow him to remain a recognized saint.

Saint Dunstan
Patron Saint of Goldsmiths

St. Dunstan is the patron saint of goldsmiths, he himself being a noted goldsmith in life. He is represented in clerical robes carrying a pair of pincers in his right hand. The robes refer to his office as Bishop of Nunc, and the pincers to the legend of his holding the Devil by the nose until he promised never to tempt him again.

Dunstan was a painter, jeweler and smith. Expelled from the royal court, he built a cell near Umpleby church, and there he worked at his handicrafts. It was in his cell that tradition says the Devil gossiped with the saint through the lattice window. Dunstan calmly talked until his tongs were red hot, when he turned round suddenly and caught the Devil by the nose.

Saint Dymphna
Patron Saint of the Stricken

St. Dymphna is the saint of those who are stricken in spirit. She was a native of the Midlands and a woman of high rank. It is said that she was murdered at Zeletor in the south by bandits because she resisted their advanced. Zeletor has long been a famous colony for the insane.

Saint Gabbar
Patron Saint of Tailors
Founder of the Gabbardine Order

St. Gabbar is revered in Yore for his defeat of a bevy of ogres that plagued the country long ago. While there is no doubt that he was a tailor, his race, whether a halfling from Yore or a half-elf from Mab, is disputed. Mother Church claims he was a halfling and will hear nothing more about it. The symbol of the Gabbardine Order is a needle and bobbin, and the monks engage in the garment trade. It has made the order wealthy, for they are the official tailors of the Mother Church, producing all official religious trappings therein. They are also noted as the preeminent giant killers of Yore.

Saint Grumm
Patron Saint of Warfare and Protection

St. Grumm is a popular Yorrish saint credited with the defense of the faithful in the Midlands against incursions of monsters and barbarian hordes. In Ikrod’s Lives of the Saints he is identified with Grumm Steadylegs, a warrior-monk who led a company of riders in the Wars of Redemption, in which Mother Church gradually converted the Midlands and Northlands. Grumm was a sedate and somber halfling, but given to passionate defenses of Nertha and her religious law.

Heretical halfling scholars claim that Grumm was an ancient deity of boundaries. He was consort to Nertha in some legends, and her son in others. Grumm was worshipped at the borders between holdings and between civilization and the wild.
Monasteries dedicated to St. Grumm are concentrated on the frontiers. They are outwardly militant. Monks especially dedi-cated to St. Grumm wear black robes with pointed hoods over their armor. They carry flanged maces in combat and are usually trained riders. They are called Grumblers. St Grumm’s churches have stout, stone walls and heavy doors. They are designed as places of refuge for the halflings in times of war. Almost all halfling hobbles have a small statue of St. Grumm near the door where he can guard against intruders.

St. Grumm’s feast day is Wild Month the 21st, celebrated as “Pie Week” amongst the Yorrish. During Pie Week, one day is set aside for St. Grumm and called Boys’ Day. All halfling boys and men are honored on Boys’ Day with gifts (usually martial in quality like slings and knives) and a parade.

The Boys’ Day parade concludes with a mock Battle against the Big Folk, wherein the parade leader must fight a duel with his enemy, the Big Man. The Big Man is represented in pantomime by two halflings, one sitting atop the other’s shoulders. The Big Man first runs into the street, disrupting the parade and scattering all the participants. He then steals a pie, knocks down a mock-hobble, and attempts to carry off a sheep. The parade leader chases the Big Man around the village square, sometimes losing his spear in the process. Finally, he either strikes the Big Man down with his spear or runs the Big Man out of town with the help of the militia by throwing pies at him. Once the Big Man is dead or driven off, the Battle ends and the halflings triumphantly carry the parade leader around the village on a shield or large platter, ending up at the Feast. Then they eat until they keel over.

Halfling clerics of St. Grumm are almost always Lawful. They always carry a buckler with St. Grumm’s badger symbol on the boss. The lay members of St. Grumm’s cult include gamekeepers, herdsman, militiaman, road wardens, soldiers, watch-men, and woodsmen.

The Order of St. Grumm is a branch of knighthood open to all free men and boys who can pass their tests with sling and bow. The Order’s membership boasts some of the greatest living halflings of Yore. The society is martial in name only, being more a hunting fraternity than anything else.

Saint Mathurin
Patron Saint of Fools

The patron saint of fools, St. Mathurin was in life a pedagogue who labored the whole of his life to preach to chil-dren, adults and even the animals. Yorrish legend says that it is St. Mathurin who first taught animals to speak, thus they are referred to as “Mathurin’s pupils”.

Saint Mommo
Patron Saint of Dance, Music and Poetry

St. Mommo is a very ancient halfling recollection of Tut, the kabir of natural rhythms, and thus of dance, music and poetry. The followers of St. Mommo are distinguished by their brightly colored clothes and their masks. They are portrayers of religious plays and singers of religious ballads. They are, essentially, the entertainers of Mother Church. They exist in their own troupes, and rarely mix with the uninitiated.

Saint Swithun
Patron Saint of Builders

The chroniclers say St. Swithun was a diligent builder of churches in places where there were none, and a repairer of churches destroyed or ruined. He also built a bridge on the east side of the city of Yorld. During the work, he made a practice of sitting there to watch the workmen so that his presence might stimulate their industry. One of his most edifying miracles is said to have been performed at this bridge when he restored an old woman’s basket of eggs which the workmen had maliciously broken.

The Kitchen Saints
Patron Saints of Home and Hearth

As any visitor to Yore knows, the kitchen is the center of halfling life and halfling worship. Three minor saints who enjoy considerable good will and devotion throughout Yore are Praseeda, Landrani and Bertha. Collectively, they are referred to as the Kitchen Saints. They lived long ago and are portrayed as ancient healers associated with both herbal healing and cookery. Heretical sages claim that they are remnants of the pre-Mother Church beliefs of Yore, which was based around a loose pantheon of nature divinities.

Each Kitchen Saint has her own feast day. St. Landrani, the patron saint of beer and cider, is feted on Wood Month the 5th. St. Praseeda, Our Lady of Herbs & Spices, is feted on Hay Month the 3rd. St. Bertha, patron saint of deserts, is celebrated on Pasture Month the 12th.

Mendicant halfling friars dedicate themselves to the Kitchen Saints. These wandering friars are renowned for their jollity and common sense preaching. They are like kindly gaffers and gammers, from whom the youth seek advice. More reserved members of the priesthood fault them for their inattention to canon law and church taboo, but really they resent them for being so much more popular than they.

St Landrani is immensely proud of the plethora of alcoholic beverages she has created for the halflings, and is always busy in the cellar creating (and extensively testing) her latest brew. She is always happy and usually a bit tipsy. St. Praseeda works with her on occasion to create spiced ciders. St. Landrani is depicted as a plump halfling woman with a wide grin and short blonde hair, holding a tankard and bottle of cider. Her symbol is a tankard.

St. Praseeda is the most rugged of her sisters, and spends hours hunting for rare herbs and mushrooms. As busy as this keeps her, she still finds time to potter around in the kitchen, helping her sisters spice up their creations. St. Praseeda is quiet, reserved and friendly. She is depicted as a slender halfling woman with long, tussled blonde hair, a green hood, and a sling bag. Her symbol is the sling-bag of herbs.

Have you ever wondered how halfling children can fall out of trees and walk away with only a little bruise, or why halfling relationships are nearly trouble free? St. Bertha is the answer.

St. Bertha is the most ‘homey’ of the Kitchen Saints, soothing hurt feelings and looking after halfing children while they play. In her spare time, she works in the kitchen with Nertha, cooking up the sweet treats of which halflings are so fond. St. Bertha is depicted as a plump halfling woman with curly blonde hair, freckled skin, and a concerned expression. She carries a spoon and lollipop, and her symbol is the lollipop.

The Kitchen Saints really are the last remnants of the halfling’s old religion. The three sisters remain the matrons of halfling druids – the aforementioned friars. These friars are few and far between, but they can be found wandering the countryside as teachers and guides. The friars are more colorful than most halfling priests, weaving flowers in their hair and wearing green robes. They gather in fields on nights of the full moon to worship the Kitchen Saints and Nertha. There, they throw seeds into the wind, watching them scatter and divining portents from the patterns they make.

Other than the friars, the Kitchen Saints have no official cults. Their worship is carried out by druids, brewers, cooks, nan-nies and peasants. While small shrines to the three sisters are maintained in most churches, most of their worship is con-ducted on small stone altars found in fields, kitchens, brewer-ies, and nurseries. Some of these altars are very ancient. At harvest time, first fruits are offered to the three sisters. Their followers are called either Kitcheners or Pantryeans.

NOD 28, Revisions and Goodies

It’s a bad sign when you start all of your blog posts with “I’m sorry I haven’t posted lately …”. Still, I’ve been a busy boy, so I have a good excuse. Here are my current RPG projects and a glimpse at what I would like to do moving forward, as well as a few RPG odds and ends mixed in to make this more than an advertisement.

NOD 28

First and foremost – I’ve put NOD 28 out for sale today as a PDF! It’s going for $4.99 – 78 pages, with part one of the Trollheim Mountains hex crawl (trolls, pseudo-Russians, elemental folk, a crazed demigod, etc.), a Swiss mercenary character class, new rules for handling disease in RPG’s and a campaign idea for a “World of Atlantis” game drawing from Theosophy’s notion of “root races”. Tons of fun for $4.99. GET IT HERE or HERE.

BLOOD & TREASURE 2nd edition

I’m about 80% complete with editing and laying out the new B&T Player’s Tome, and about 35% complete with the Treasure Keeper’s Tome. The 2nd edition will not be a major departure from the first, but I’ve made some adjustments to saving throw values, XP requirements, I’ve tried to give the sorcerer some personality and make the ranger the cool cat I remember from youth, streamline any rules that could use streamlining, etc. The goal is still RULES LITE – OPTIONS HEAVY. Most of the work I’ve done is concerned with improving the layout and incorporating the first edition errata. I’ve also commissioned new covers from David Williams, which are being colored now. Here’s a sneak peek – half of this image will be the Player’s Tome, the other half will be the TK’s Tome.

If anybody has an ingenious old school idea they think would improve fantasy gaming, let me know and I’ll see if I can’t incorporate it into the rules.

QUICK MONSTER: GOATMAN

Goatmen live in hidden valleys, deep within forbidding mountains. Half mad, chaos flows through their veins. When the moon is full, they descend into the lowlands, seeking out people to torment or torture.

Goatman, Medium Monstrous Humanoid: HD 1; AC 16; ATK 1 slam (1d6); MV 30; SV F15 R13 W14; XP 250 (CL3); Special-Auras.

Goatmen cause fear (as the spell) to all within 10′ of them. Each time a person succumbs to this fear, the goatman grows larger, gaining 1 hit dice (and all that goes with it). At 6 HD, they become large creatures and their aura changes to one of madness (save or go temporarily mad). Each person that goes mad causes the goatman to gain another HD. At 12 HD, the goatman becomes huge, and the aura becomes one of death. All within 10′ of the beast must save or die. Each creature that dies increases the goatman’s hit dice by 1. At 18 HD, the goatman explodes into shadow and ceases to exist. The land where he explodes becomes permanently blighted and haunted by the souls of those who died.

MYSTERY MEN! Revision

I’m further along with the MM! revision than B&T. The book is laid out, the rules tinkered with, and now I just need to give it a thorough editing. This version will still have the sample Shore City setting and the sample adventure, but will also include several write-ups of heroes and villains.

NEW SPELL: UNWITTING ALLY

Magic-User 2
Range 10′ radius
Duration 1 minute

One enemy helps you despite himself. When this spell is cast, one enemy within 10′ chosen at random must pass a Will save or become your unwitting, unwilling ally. Every move the creature makes has the possibility of helping you. For each action, roll 1d6.

1-2. The creature’s action proceeds as normal.
3-5. The creature’s action proceeds as normal, but has a side effect useful to you.
6. The creature’s action is twisted to your purpose entirely.

Help, in this case, is up to the referee, but would include things like the monster making a move, but also accidentally tripping or running into one his allies, the monster making an attack, but accidentally attacking an ally as well, etc.

BLACK DEATH

The latest Quick and Easy RPG is Black Plague, which really just needs some editing and it’s ready to go. This one is set in the era of Europe’s religious wars (mostly the Hundred Years War), and is intended to be grim and gritty – more survive than thrive. This Q&E is a bit heftier than past editions, due to containing a bit more setting info and some rules for disease and damnation.

QUICK MONSTER: LEAF SWARM

A leaf swarm is a swarm of vicious green insects. They descend on a tree, strip it of leaves, and then take their place. When a creature nears the tree, the leaf swarm strikes, surprising on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. The monster’s stings cause blindness. The first save a creature fails blurs their vision (-2 to hit and damage), the second failed save blinds them for 1 minute, and the third blinds them permanently.

Leaf Swarm, Tiny Vermin: HD 4; AC 13; ATK 1 swarm (1d3 + special); MV Fly 60; SV F14 R13 W14; XP 400 (CL5); Special-Blindness.

THE FUTURE

What I’d like to start doing next is producing more adventure material for the games I’ve written. No more games for me – just fun, supplemental material.

For GRIT & VIGOR I want to do setting books that cover different eras – the historical events that lend themselves towards adventure, the equipment, the personalities. Each book would also have an adventure for that era. These would be trade paperbacks, probably 40 to 60 pages.

For MYSTERY MEN! I’d like to do some short books of heroes and villains, also accompanied by an adventure or two. They might be themed, or they might just be whatever tickles my fancy. These would maybe run 20 to 30 pages, trade paperback.

For BLOOD & TREASURE I’d like to do some adventures, with a few new monsters, new spells, etc. Again, trade paperback, probably 30 to 40 pages.

I also want to start writing supplements called THE LAND OF NOD that would provide hex crawls, mini-adventures and other setting material. These would probably also be trade paperbacks, maybe in a landscape format. Page count here would probably be around 120 pages. The first step would be to collect and revise the old NOD hex crawls.

I still have a revision of Space Princess and Pars Fortuna slated for the second half of this year, and I have more Bloody Basics I would like to make.

So – that’s what’s on my agenda for 2016. We’ll see how far I get. Hopefully, as the revisions and editing slows down I’ll have more time for blogging. I have tons of ideas that need to be fleshed out, and God willing I’ll start that fleshing process as the year wears on.

Cheers!

Release-A-Palooza

I have three new (or recent) releases to bring to your kind attention.
Before I talk about them, though, HERE’S A LINK to those Bloody Basic printable character sheets I mentioned (including Weird Fantasy edition), with background color removed.

NOD 27

This issue of NOD features:

* Gloriana’s Blessed Isle, Part 2 – The continuation of the Ulflandia hex crawl that started in NOD 26 – this one covers a little of the island, the Bragart Hills, the southern portion of the Klarkash Mountains and a wee bit of the Wyvern Coast … a real cross roads. Features some groovy art by Denis McCarthy

* d20 Mecha I: The Classes – The first part of a three part article on adapting d20-based games for giant robot adventures – by my good friend and mecha-aficionado Luke DeGraw. Part 2 will cover equipment, and in Part 3 we’re going to collaborate on simplified rules for the mecha themselves, using some of the rules I’ve developed for GRIT & VIGOR.

* The Nodian Bestiary – Featuring 10 new monsters

* Strength: A Primer – Exploring the strength ability score

* The Muscleman – A new class that puts strength to the test … yeah, he can bite through chains and throw halflings … nice art by NOD regular Jon Kaufman

* You Pull the Lever and … – Ideas for lever-based traps and tricks … with more from Kaufman

* Racial Variations: Earth – Elemental twists on the classic fantasy races … and a third Kaufman piece

* Plan 9 from Outer Space: The RPG – A Quick & Easy minigame for Halloween … I’m super excited about this silly thing

* The Grey Planet Beckons – The negative-energy planet Pluto for the Nodian cosmos

$4.99 for the e-book … print edition coming soon 

BLOODY BASIC – WEIRD FANTASY EDITION

I know some folks have been waiting for this one. The Weird Fantasy Edition rules are inspired by the wondrous prose and poetry of Clark Ashton Smith and Lord Dunsany and the art of such luminaries as Aubrey Beardsley and Sidney Sime. It include rules for the races, classes, spells and monsters of weird fantasy tales. Ever wanted to play a grotesque puissant? Now’s your chance.

This one was briefly in the Top 10 hottest titles on rpgnow … pretty cool!

$4.99 for the e-book … print edition coming soon

DEVIANT DECADE

Can you survive the mean streets of New York City in the 1970’s? Muggers, psychos, junkies, sewer-gators, street punks, and gangsters! Oh My!

Deviant Decade is a quick and easy game to learn and play. All you need is a few friends, some pencils and paper, a few ordinary dice and this book … leisure suits are optional.

$2.99 for the e-book (no stagflation here) … print edition coming soon

For sale now at both Lulu and Drive Thru / Rpgnow

COMING SOON

Well, I think that’s enough productivity for the moment. I’m working on Black Death (coming along nicely – and a little more meat than past Quick & Easy games – I think Swords & Sandals will need a revision next year) and NOD 28 (exploring the northern Land of Og in this one) now, and I’m determined to get GRIT & VIGOR released by the end of the year.

Then I can focus on the revisions of BLOOD & TREASURE, MYSTERY MEN!, SPACE PRINCESS and PARS FORTUNA. I’ve already commissioned new cover art for B&T!!! Super excited.

NOD for 2015

NOD 25 – the PDF version – is now up for sale at Lulu.com. The link to my shop is on the right, or you can click HERE to go directly to the magazine. What does it hold?

NOD 25 – First issue of 2015! In this issue, the Klarkash Mountains hex crawl through weird, goblin-infested mountains. Also – The Thirty Years War Camapaign, the Landsknecht class, a Pen & Paper Football Game (American Football), random tables for making weird ecologies and a couple magic items. 76 pages.


On sale for $4.99

Now that it’s up, it’s time to start writing NOD 26, and to polish up the next Bloody Basic edition. GRIT & VIGOR is being play-tested now, and if I can find the time I’m going to do a short play-test adventure on Google+, in case anyone is interested.

Time to Get Your Ende On – NOD 23!

I remember when I knocked these out in two months …

Nonetheless, NOD 23 is ready for download on Lulu.com:

NOD 23 features the beginning of the India-inspired Ende hex crawl, the end of the Dungeon of the Apes adventure, a random list of weird things to do with wizard brains, Thor vs. the Monster Maids – a new hero and villain for Mystery Men! and four new mythic races inspired by Indian mytholody. 64 pages.

Selling for $3.99 folks – check it out if you have a mind to.

On the Bloody Basic front – Classic Edition is written and being edited. Blood Basic-Contemporary Edition is written and not yet being edited – it features different races – automatons, drakkars and tieflings – and some different classes – sorcerer instead of magic-user – and sub-classes – arcane archer, monk, warlock and shadowdancer, as well as a few different modern spells and a bunch of more modern monsters. I’m dealing with a research conference for the next few days, but I’ll try to find some time to edit it. I’m about halfway through writing Bloody Basic-Chaos Edition.

In other news – May is going to be devoted to finishing the Monster Tome and getting it published – super excited about it. Then I’ll focus on NOD 24 and Grit & Vigor. A full plate, but a happy one!

Also, I promise to get more gaming-related posts up soon – I have a ton of posts I need to finish up, so there’s more material coming.

The Trophy Case – a Magazine to Check Out

Hey folks,

Busy scribbling away at my monster book (I think I have the layout figured out) and GRIT & VIGOR, and finishing up NOD 23 (Zombies and Apes!), but I wanted to take a couple moments and point people to a gaming zine called The Trophy Case.

Written by Scott Casper, the writer of Hideouts & Hoodlums, a Swords & Wizardry-inspired superhero game, the zine focuses on golden and silver age heroes, with plenty of stats for H&H, comic book reviews and a nice locale for heroic adventures – the Double L Dude Ranch. Volume 2 – Issue 7 also features a very kind review of Mystery Men!

If you have the time and $0.50 (yes folks, just two thin quarters, four bits!) you can visit Scott’s page at Drive Thru RPG or RPGNow.com, and pick up The Trophy Case and get your golden age on.

Now then – back to work!

NOD 20 Released … Finally

So what took so long? Well, I’ll tell you, but first …

The twentieth issue of NOD finally arrives, detailing the fantasy colonial city of Dweomer Baye. This issue also includes the Vigilante class for Blood & Treasure, new aquatic monsters, cosmic hero Starman for Mystery Men!, an unholy relic, alien cocktails for Space Princess, random dungeon noises and the bogeyman! 34 pages

Click here to buy NOD 20 for $1.99

So, why did I take so long to finish one of the shortest (maybe the shortest) issue of NOD yet?

I think, first and foremost, my brain wanted to take a pseudo-sabatical from RPG writing. My post count has been low on the blog, and my output outside the blog has been a bit lower than usual. Earlier this year, I finished a couple issues of NOD and did some freelance work besides (more monster lairs), so the little grey cells, they were a bit fatigued mon ami,

While my brain was dragging its feet (sounds like something Yogi Berra would have said) on NOD 20, it was also dragging its feet on ACTION X and the NOD Companion – so I’ve been slowly working on all three projects.

Fortunately, I’m starting to get back into high gear (well, maybe second gear), and I’m also getting a bit more excited about NOD 21, which will detail the western half of the Virgin Woode hex-crawl. This will concern the Damnable Sea and the Victorian/Atlantean aquatic elves who dwell beneath its waves and are preparing to launch a war of conquest on the surface dwellers. They’ve enslaved the locathah, scattered the sahuagin, and now they’re turning their eyes towards humanity!

For ACTION X, I’m currently detailing some notable automobiles from the 20th century for the game. I still need to grab spell descriptions from B&T and some psionic power descriptions from Tanner Yea’s excellent Psionics of Lore supplement for the Spells/Powers section, but otherwise it’s just about ready to playtest. For anyone interested in participating, I plan to run the playtest on Google+ – it will involve entering Iran Mission:Impossible-style to capture or help escape (who knows!) a scientist working on their nuclear weapons program.

For the NOD Companion, I’m detailing the gazetteer portion that gives people an overview of the NOD campaign world in its entirety. I was originally going to make it somewhat detailed, then changed my mind and thought about doing the entire thing as a travelogue involving a Tremanni merchant, and have finally settled on doing more of a glossography with some hand drawn maps. When finished, it will include the overview of NOD, a collection of classes published in NOD and updated for Blood & Treasure, new weapons and some other character-oriented articles from NOD.

So – that’s the gaming side of “why it took so long”. The other side is what’s known as “my real job”.

For those who don’t know, I am a researcher/pseudo-economist who tracks the commercial real estate market in Southern Nevada (i.e. Las Vegas). I maintain an oft-neglected blog concerning commercial real estate, maintain a massive database all on my lonesome, and produce quarterly reports. Back when I started the blog and the hobby publishing, I produced three quarterly reports, detailing the industrial, office and retail markets in Las Vegas. Now, I produce those, as well as reports on the local economy, the hospitality sector, medical office, multifamily, rarely land and I help with a gaming report. I’ve also started doing some freelance economic work. In other words, I do quite a bit of writing, and that’s detracted a bit from my hobby writing.

Still, I think I’m getting back in the swing, so expect more content moving forward than you’ve seen in the last few months. Hopefully, as Frog God Games finishes the big projects it has on its plate, I’ll get the nod (no pun intended) to produce some more Hex Crawl Chronicles for them.

Get Yourself Some NOD 19, Fool!

Yes, true believers (sorry Stan, needed a quick catchphrase)! NOD 19 is now available in digital form, paperback to follow when I see a review copy. What does this time hold? Dig some descriptive text:

“Spring has sprung, and so has NOD 19 (okay, that was lame, but this descriptive text gets tricky after a while). Anyhow – NOD 19 features the first half of the Virgin Woode hex crawl, a bunch of monsters, the puritan class, four new classes for Space Princess, a new race/class for Pars Fortuna and a bunch of other cool junk! 68 pages of excellence!”

There you have it, lads and lasses. Check out some NOD 19 and rock your brain-stem with fantasy goodness for $2.99 (cheap).

Check it out HERE!

And the MAP can be found HERE 

or just look below …

So far, only the western portion is filled in – the eastern portion will be detailed in NOD 21, while NOD 20 will focus on the colonial city-state of Dweomer Baye.

Hey 2012 – Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya Where the Good Lord Split Ya

Well, the end of 2012. A pretty good year for me, in terms of publishing, and not too bad otherwise as well. Any year you can walk away from is a good one!

As you’re sit around waiting for 2013 to start, feel free to buy NOD 18 – just up for sale on Lulu as a PDF. I’ll have the print copy up as soon as I get a proof copy. What’s in this issue?

– Cush/Pwenet hexcrawl – eastern half (oh, and map J12 is now up on the Nod page on this blog)

– As the Cleric Turns – alternate turn undead effects for clerics

– Cock of the Walk – variant cockatrices

– Of Nomes and Genomes – new races for Space Princess and Pars Fortuna

– Random Jeweled Thrones – design some fancy places for royals to park their keisters

– Personal Quests – add some storytelling to the dungeon-crawling

– Santas for All – Who brings good little elves, dwarves and halflings presents?

– The Shadow Dancer – a new class for Blood & Treasure

– Making Alignment Count – some schemes on making alignment more than just a word on a character sheet

64 pages, $2.99

Later tonight, I’ve got a goofy new class for you’re game I think you might enjoy.

Also – my sincerest thanks to all you folks who read the blog and spend your coin on my products. I never thought this whole self-publishing thing would work out so well, and I owe its success to the reception you’ve given it. Hopefully, there will be many more books to come, including the NOD Companion and Action X.

So, let’s say goodbye to that old bastard 2012 – have a couple cocktails, chill the champagne and, if you’re fortunate, pucker up for that new bastard 2013!

NOD 17 – Just in Time for Halloween!

It was a struggle today (embedding fonts in Adobe can be more frightening than a teenaged werewolf!) but NOD 17 is finally up for sale as a PDF!

Within it’s 50 pages you will find …

IXUM, City of the Savannah – a fantasy city on the savannah of Pwenet with over 60 locations.

36 MONSTERS OF DISTINCTION – If you’ve been following the blog this October, you know what to expect here – 36 Halloweeny monsters that are more than just a set of stats

DINOSAURS WITH A DIFFERENCE – A random table of modifications to make dinosaurs more memorable

IT’S THE MONSTER’S TURN – Four monstrous classes for Blood & Treasure – The Demon, the Devil, the Red Dragon and the Vampire. It ain’t just humans who like to kill things and take their stuff!

BAR FIGHTS – The bar fight matrix (and an excellent illustration by Jon Kaufman)

A SKELETON FOR EVERY OCCASION – 18 skeletons to challenge characters of any level

QUEENS OF ELEMENTAL AIR – Radiant elemental queens from the Plane of Air

SWORDS, SORCERY AND MYSTERY MEN! – A short guide to running heroic fantasy adventures  using Mystery Men!

MEET THE MACABRES – A “mysterious and spooky” race for fantasy games.

Hope folks enjoy it! The print edition will be out as soon as I get my review copy – probably about 10 to 12 days.

NOD 18 in two months will complete 3 years of this little effort of mine – can’t wait!

PURCHASE IT HERE!