Warlords Of NUM:About

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Cover art for Warlords of NUM
Warlords of NUM ("NUM" rhymes with "doom") is based on the classic series of fantasy adventure books by Norman Doyle-Rice. From the first in the series, Beast Men of NUM, to his last novel (finished after Doyle-Rice's death by his biographer and close friend, September Bereft), Witch Kings of NUM, Norman Doyle-Rice entertained and enthralled readers with over 100 novels spanning nearly 60 years.

We at Black Gate Publishing owe a debt of gratitude to the estate of Norman Doyle-Rice for allowing us to adapt Doyle-Rice's groundbreaking fantasy fiction to a role-playing game. Authors from Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock to Roger Zelazny and Steven Brust (among others) have cited Norman Doyle-Rice as a seminal influence. His impact on the fantasy genre can be seen everywhere today, as the themes and issues that were considered taboo and shocking when Doyle-Rice first introduced them in Beast Men of NUM in 1932, such as unabashed sexuality, dominance and submission, and anthopomorphic zoophilia (more commonly called "furry"), have become staples of the genre — even the cover illustrations of the NUM novels, which were once condemned by moralists as "prurient" and "obscene", are now appreciated as works of art in their own right, and the coffee table edition of Biceps and Bosoms: The Art of NUM is in its seventeenth edition, and still selling strong.

Even beyond the literary field, the work of Norman Doyle-Rice has permeated the popular culture. Phrases which first appeared in the NUM novels are now regularly heard in television shows and movies (such as the "I will rape your skull!" threat spoken by Gerard Depardieu to Matthew Broderick in the delightful romantic comedy Addicted to Love), and the titles of Doyle-Rice's books are frequently found on the Billboard Top 40 as the names of popular bands (the most well-known example being the singing group which took its name from the novel Spice Girls of NUM).

A special debt of gratitude is due to September Bereft, who has provided invaluable assistance in making available to us Norman Doyle-Rice's original notes and manuscripts for the NUM novels. September has also provided guidance in making the translation from NUM "the novels" to NUM "the role-playing game", and has helped clear up some of the minor inconsistencies that inevitably crept into the world of NUM as the series of novels grew. (For example, in War Dancers of NUM, it is stated that the Khûl are not sexually compatible with Khitaj, yet in Spice Girls of NUM, the harem of the spice lord Alessandro Spectre includes not only Khitaj and Zinjan women, but a Khûl woman as well. September was very helpful in explaining just how this apparent contradiction could be resolved.)

We hope that this role-playing game adaptation pleases the many fans of Norman Doyle-Rice, and that we live up to the legend that is NUM. We also hope that, through the NUM role-playing game, new readers who have not yet had the pleasure of reading Doyle-Rice will discover the NUM novels like a long-buried treasure in the Cities of the Dead, and the legacy of NUM will be spread to a new generation of readers.