The Dvarsh revere three figures as cornerstones of their civilization. Two were Dvarsh by birth and lineage: Mabv I, who gathered the clans into a common dream and founded the Sleeping Court, and Emo Azek, the trickster mage who discovered zero. The third, called nodz in Dvarsh and Nod in English, has been described as “a clown-like manifestation of unexpected personality.” Nod arrived among the Dvarsh more than seventeen millennia ago, whence never explained. The purpose of the visit, it is generally agreed, was “to set things in motion and shake things up.” After seven hundred years, more or less (arrival and departure dates are disputed), Nod vanished, leaving behind a school of thought and the original core of the oracle.
Nod’s Way, also known as Hidden Dragon, is the ancient Dvarsh wisdom book and traditional instrument of divination. The core of its text traces directly to Nod, who provided the symbols, organized the auspices and introduced the two matched dice known as The Companions. Centuries of traditional interpretation was edited and integrated into the text by two later scholars remembered under a single moniker, The Great Boz’. Their relationship is described in Dvarsh historiography by a term that might translate as “ascetic monogamy.” Humans call it marriage. The Great Boz’ also completed the dice set and added an appendix of evocative material called, “The Lenses.” Their efforts established the received text of today, codifying teachings of Nod as inflected by schools of metaphorized arithmetic that look back to Emo Azek, by tradition, and by their own best guess.
The oracle of the Dvarsh is structured as a dice game with chance. Every authority confirms, chance is always ready to play — with anyone, humans included. In fact, it loves to spend time with circles of friends, a good book, curious dice, and everyone’s favorite refreshment.
The text of Nod’s Way is also a kind of poem with parts read in whatever order throws of the dice suggest.
Last but not least, as the first version of the oracle that is complete and bilingual, Stikmantica’s Nod’s Way extends the field of fantasy anthropological and linguistic play laid out in Dvarsh, An Introduction. The oracle is part two of the greatest game in the world for those whose brain is their favorite body part and whose watch word is “challenge.”
This oracle of book and dice is a work of imagination. As such, the only wisdom it purports to contain is imaginary wisdom. Fantasy wisdom. Made up. Unsubstantiated, untested by time or experience pretend wisdom. Any resemblance to actual wisdom is pure coincidence. Robert Stikmanz, the medium from whose imagination Nod’s Way sprang, has been called variously a perennial malcontent, a disruptive ultra-leftist, a cult writer, a laundry list of personality disorders, and probably crazy. DO NOT MAKE LIFE-CHANGING DECISIONS BASED ON PLAY WITH NOD’S WAY!
That said, this oracle makes a splendid discovery amidst the ruins of your favorite role-playing game, and a handy divination tool for any scenario. It is, all by itself, a joy at small parties. Taken together with Dvarsh, An Introduction and Dvarsh Workbook, Nod’s Way provides a vast field of adventure and discovery for mental questers.
An earlier, partial version of the oracle was produced some years ago by a small commercial house. Publishers publish what they want to publish, and that previous effort was produced in conformity with the publisher’s vision for it. Too bad they never really got it. Too bad also that an author desperate for publication conformed overly much. Nod’s Way is a toy, but it is not a joke.
Nod’s Way, the Author’s Edition brings together the entire body of Nod materials for the first time. It presents both the never before published original Dvarsh and a new, authoritative English translation. The whole book and every page have been redesigned to capture not the vision of a publisher or an author, but that of the Dvarsh themselves.
Yes and no. Unless something completely unexpected surfaces from the Dvarsh Repository, neither the Dvarsh nor English will change more than a future update to correct errors found over time. It is possible some distant day will see an edition incorporating illustrations from a 60 card Nod divination deck now in development.* Should that edition eventually happen, on a separate track from the slightly less uncertain future of the cards, it will differ from Nod’s Way, the Author’s Edition primarily in page count and pictures. At least three committed future titles are in line before a pictorial Nod gets the green light. Even that new realization will not make Nod’s Way, the Author’s Edition obsolete. This version is built to last.
*Meaning preliminary drawings in ink washes and pencil currently comprise the number one No. 2 project at Stikmanz Intergalactic HQ, and will hang at No. 2 for a while.
Copyright © 2019 Robert Stikmanz (unless otherwise noted)