|This is a /co/ related article, which we allow because we find it interesting or we can't be bothered to delete it.|
Nodwick is an early "tabletop gamer culture" oriented comedy comic, by Aaron Williams. Williams already had a following for stuff he'd done for Dragon, so about 2000ish he ran this comic there too. 'Tis in the spirit of Star Trek: Lower Decks for gamers but good. Or, the Knights of the Dinner Table as seen by its avatars rather than described by the players.
Where this series ran in Dragon, it tended to pillory ye olde skoole of modules like S1: Tomb of Horrors; where in Dungeon, it commented on the adventures listed in there. On its own of course it couldn't much touch copyrighted material, so it goes more style-parody.
Although mostly done for laughs, Williams is not averse to kicking the reader in the gut on occasion, for instance in an "It's a Wonderful Life" expy in which we see what happens to the party when they don't raise Nodwick from the dead that one time. This wiki-author about lost it at that one and faceplanted into a tub of chocolate ice cream.
You can read most of it for free at nodwick.com. Excepting the Dungeon stuff which only made sense to that magazine's subscribers. Also later installments here seem to be out of sequence.
Cast of Characters
- The titular character is in fact a non-player character, a retainer for a (usually) three-person party who answers to "henchman". He's a diminutive human with a honkin' schnoz ripped from the early Opus of Bloom County. As such, he's our viewpoint character for the antics of the party. Mostly his task is Porter, which job is often a royal pain in his... back. Frequently our man gets killed (can't really use "dies" in the active voice here), but the party - especially Piffany - is always there with a roll of duct tape, so Nodwick lives again... and again... and again.
- Yeagar is the tank of the team. He's big and dumb, although violence tends to be his second resort to problems. His first resort is "throw the henchie at the problem headfirst".
- Artax is the mage. He's older, with an impressive white moustache down to his navel; and more canny. Deep down, though, he is not much smarter than Artax, and equally as selfish - just for mage-usable treasure. Artax also prefers to solve problems by chucking the henchman at them.
- Piffany is the cleric, almost as short as Nodwick but much thinner. She's the conscience of the group: idealistic to a fault, and Nodwick's advocate before the team. When she calls you "naughty", watch out.
- Count Repugsive is the Warduke expy, an anti-paladin (later Blackguard) who's angling to take his cousin's throne. He often raises undead. It turns out that she is actually both undead and a woman; she was pretty plain-looking in life, and since she's too dead for her sex to be evident now, she just lets people think she's a guy for a feeble attempt at being taken more seriously.
- Baphumaal, portmanteau of Baphomet and Baal, is an evil god. Rather, he used to be one. And would like to become one again.
Other Recurrent Characters
- Bezzler (lol) was the party rogue, a half-elf of some description. He sometimes joins back - when he's down on his luck a bit, and feels like the party doesn't remember what he was like last time he'd joined. Which was to steal all their shit.
- The Fang and Flagon is Yeager's watering hole - or would be, if water were ever served there. Skull Whomper Ale is the beverage of choice; also doubles as a potent munition.
- Henchman's Local 246 is Nodwick's union. Henchmen here all have the suffix -wick, and it's run by a hamster. Worst fucking union EVAR.
- The Powers What Is are to the Nodverse what the GAWDS are to KotD. They're the DM over this world, including over whatever the local clerics pray at.
Fun Crunchy Notes
Nodwick is statted as being a level 21 Henchman, with eighteen ranks in each of the Nonweapon Proficiences Schlepping, Toting, Hauling, and Lifting with Knees. He also counts as having 15 ranks in the Religion Nonweapon Proficiency, due to his frequent deaths - they also mean that any deity who meets Nodwick has a 20% chanceo f recognizing him, because he's been bounced in and out of the Outer Planes that frequently. His Nonweapon Proficiences are what allows Nodwick to carry such ridiculously large amounts of junk, and only apply to things designated "loot". In all other situations, Nodwick's Strength statistic is given as a mere eight. In this article, Nodwick is stated as being of Lawful Good alignment, which is why he attempts to merely find a loophole in his contract in order to escape rather than simply absconding while unattended or even murdering his employers in their sleep. It is noted that there is a base 5% chance that Nodwick may be carrying any item from the Player's Handbook, with this chance increasing by +2% for every cubic foot of junk Nodwick is hauling.
Yeager is described as a level 8 Chaotic Good Fighter with the special defence of a 50% resistance to attempts at reasoning. He has 12 skill ranks in Scheme, 15 in Simple Solutions For Complex Problems, and 11 in Running. Pioneer of the various abuses of henchman, he treats his Intelligence as being 18 when attempting to figure out reasons to use a henchman for something like stopping a portcullis from closing. Yeager's armor is described as being +3 chainmail, and his sword is a +1 longsword- at least, in his hands. Yeager's sword is actually a Reaper of Evil +5, +10 vs. Evil Creatures. As well as its potent magical effects, it is a sentient weapon with an Intelligence and an Ego of 18 that provides its wielder with the ability to turn undead three times per day as though they were a level 15 cleric, the power to cure disease with a touch and the ability to directly contact their patron god once per year. However, the horrific experiences it suffered shortly after coming into Yeager's possession (being used to kill a skunk, scrape dragon dung off Yeager's boots and cut a path through a field of bile weeds, then fatally impaling a saintly monk after trying to leap from Yeager's possession) have left it mentally scarred and locked in a catatonic state. The only method able to cure it will be removal from Yeagar's possession and several years of therapy.
Artax is stated as having come from a long line of magicians. A few of his ancestors became quite famous and/or powerful, but the majority of them were lucky enough to breed before killing themselves in some spectacular magical accident. A level 7 Generalist Wizard of Neutral Good alignment, Artax has Nonweapon Proficiency ranks in Spellcraft (16), Henchcraft (18), Ancient Languages (18), Reading/Writing (19) and Forgery (15). Artax's elongated mustache is said to be infested with so many food particles that it can be ingested with all the nutritional value of a single iron ration, while his pointy hat has the powers of a +4 Ring of Protection. He is noted to have a special defence; a 30% resistance to pleas of mercy. According to his background in this article, Artax originally adventured with a different group of adventurers- consummate professionals who were truly interested in doing good. This put them at odds with Artax, who is self-obsessed and power hungry. Yeager and Artax met when Artax's previous party was interviewing potential replacements for a slain member, a footman implicitly murdered by Artax (he was struck by lightning, while only Artax was around, in the middle of a sunny day); Artax's previous party rejected Yeagar, and that made Artax decide he was the perfect partner.
Piffany is described as being a Lawful Good Cleric of 8th level. Her outfit functions as +3 leather armor and her staff is described as being a Staff of Harmony. This makes it an enchanted item that can be wielded in combat as a +3 mace, with the added feature that it warns the wielder of any evil alignment creature of at least five Hit Dice that has come within 30 feet of them. It can be used three times each day to cast the Command spell, and can also be 'charged' with up to three clerical spells for cases of emergency.