Monday, February 1, 2016

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



  1. Regarding a second edition of Blood & Treasure: Will you use the same font size? I felt it was a hard to read.

    1. Yes, I'm going to increase the font size and use a serif font to make things more readable.

  2. For the spell lists in the character class descriptions, would it be possible to make it easy to see which spells are Classic, Advanced or Expanded? For example, by listing the Classic spells first in each list, then the Advanced spells (marked or set apart in some way), then the Expanded spells (ditto)?

    1. That's a tough one to lay out, because you then end up, effectively, with three spell lists which take up more room. It works out well for people who just want classic, but for folks who want more, they have three different placed to look for spells. I'm also at this point eliminating the classic/advanced/expanded classifications from B&T.

      However ... I'm also thinking about releasing a free PDF with the game rules and the classic classes, races, spells and monsters, for people to dip their toes into the system.

    2. Please don't eliminate the Classic/Advanced/Expanded classifications!

      Also, I didn't explain what I meant very well. I didn't mean putting the spells themselves in different places. What I meant was that the spell lists in the character class section would look like this:

      1. Sleep
      2. Audible Glamer A
      3. Feather Fall A
      4. Jump A
      5. Obscuring Mist A
      6. Change Self E
      7. Detect Poison E
      8. True Strike E

      That way, if using Classic or Advanced rules, you can see at a glance which spells you can and can't use.

      I realise this would be a lot of work for you though! Perhaps I am the only person who likes having the distinctions between Classic, Advanced and Expanded elements in the rules.

    3. What if I put some appendices in the books that gather together the classic and advanced material in lists, as a handy reference sheet?

  3. Really excited for a B&T 2nd edition!

  4. First of all, I'm a huge fan of your work, and own most of it in multiple formats. B&T 2E is an auto-buy for me.

    The one nagging problem I've had with it is the STR-based Encumbrance rules. Here's my issue: I'm a retired US Army Infantrymen. I spent over 10 years on active duty in combat arms assignments, walking and running over rough terrain carrying loads of 0 to over 100lbs. I can tell you from experience that a strong, fit, 200lb athlete can carry about 35lbs without slowing down, if it is well-distributed and secured. A veteran Infantryman, who has carefully trained his back, hips, legs with years of practice can handle an 85lb combat load and remain reasonably agile, though measurably slower. The average 150lb non-athlete starts to slow down if you put 20lbs on him. In B&T (and G&V), a STR 10 average commoner can carry 100lbs without slowing down.

    Now, I recognize that this is a pretty picayune realism concern in a game about elves and dragons, but, man, that just seems WAY off. Am I missing something?

    1. That is fantastic feedback. I have basically 0 experience with this sort of thing. I'll definitely factor this in. Of course, I'd still like to keep it simple, but simple and more realistic is better. I was using the SRD's carrying capacity based on Strength, figuring a heavy load would cut movement in half. I'll look more into this and see if I can't come up with a better system that remains easy to use.

    2. This is very interesting to know!

  5. The 3.0/3.5 d20 rules are actually pretty good in this respect, erring on the heroic side of realistic:

    STR10 Average Joe can carry 33lbs without feeling the load, STR14 Tough Guy can carry almost 60, and Young Conan (STR18) can haul around 100lbs and still sprint, climb walls, sneak, etc. That strikes me as cinematic, but reasonable for an adventure game.

  6. I must say I really like the cover of the latest issue! Also, the layout of the hexcrawl seems very refined; if earlier hexcrawls could be redone like this, that's be really sweet.

    1. Thanks! My plan is to begin revising all of the old hex crawls and presenting them as stand-alone books. I'll start with the Wyvern Coast and Nabu and then work my way out.

    2. Aside from minor corrections (I'm assuming they'll undergo some slight editing to bring them up to the standards set by your latest hex crawls and stats will be changed to B&T), is there anything else to be done about them?

      May I suggest marking the maps like the ones for Ulflandia and the Klarkash Mountains?

    3. They'll be re-edited, given a nice layout, the maps will be redone and improved, etc.

  7. John - really love Nod. Have bought just about every issue in both formats.

    I'm running a campaign in a Russian-like setting and noticed you said there are pseudo-Russians in Nod 28. Who are they and where would I find them in the issue?

    Thanks so much,


    1. With the Og hex crawl and Azsor, I was inspired by the folklore and look of medieval Russia and Scandinavia. While Baba Yaga doesn't show up, I have some other "babas" lurking in the Trollheims, and one of the cities of the Oghur has a firebird at court (much to the chagrin of their rivals). The second half of the crawl will have some other bits of Russian folklore stuck in. So, I wouldn't call it an outright "fantasy Russia", but does bear some influences.

    2. Thanks for responding, John. Fantasy Russian supplements are really hard to come by, but it looks like I'll have some to draw from yours.

      Another question, if you don't mind. Have you done, or do you plan on doing any Mongolian, Desert/Arab or Jungle/African hex crawl work?

      Thanks again,


    3. Mongolian will happen some time in the future, though there's a bit of that in the Mu-Pan hex crawl. I did some Africa-esque stuff in NOD 16, 17 and 18 - the Cush-Pwenet hex crawl and a fantasy African city called Ixum. The first issues of NOD have a desert hex crawl inspired by Egypt (Nabu) and the Phoenicians (Wyvern Coast). I'll expand on Africa at some point in the future.


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