Review of Nancy Druid by 9th Level Games

Growing up on Nancy Drew mysteries (and many others), I was REALLY excited to hear about 9th Level Games’ latest Awesome World TTRPG, Nancy Druid! Check out my review here for the scoop!

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Nancy Druid is great for all ages (requires counting to 10 + some light character sheet reading)

Nancy Druid is a GREAT game for all ages – the game revolves around protecting forests and solving mysteries (that you can plan to adjust for players) and requires players to only have to track one die and a very clear character sheet. Characters in the art are depicted as kids, and all of the mechanics are fashioned in a way that kids who can count to 10 and recognize numbers should be able to play without much assistance.

Nancy Druid is set in Awesome World wherever you would find a mystery!

Nancy Druid is a system, so you can create adventures that take place anywhere! Since characters can have animal powers, setting your mysteries in places full of nature (like forests, sea sides, and desserts) can hone in on the abilities of particular characters, and modern settings (like cities and old structures) could pose interesting challenges to players. Just make sure that there’s a mystery to solve!

ALSO, this is part of the Awesome World series, which also includes The Excellents and Horseshoe Academy, so you can crossover between these other modules and even use some of the gear mentioned for this adventure too!

Your character in Nancy Druid

Your character in Nancy Druid is a scout who is part of a troop, a druid who protects nature, and a detective who solves mysteries! They’re regularly going out with their fellow druids to seek out puzzling situations and help the environment too.

Character creation involves the player choosing one die that they will use for ALL of their skill checks (more on this in the mechanics section) and picking their animal power, badges, gear, shoes, and drive, which all give some special bonuses like advantage or particular abilities. After that you’ll create your troop with your other players, and you’re ready to play!

Mechanics in Nancy Druid: the Polymorph System

As always, I cannot cover ALL of the mechanics here, so I’m going to highlight a few key points to give an idea of what to generally expect when playing the game.

One die per player to roll for all skills

Nancy Druid uses the Polymorph system, which has each player choosing and using only one die. They can pick a 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, or 1d10.

Some very beneficial skills are triggered when you roll a 1 or a max value on your die, meaning that you have better odds of getting those awesome moves if you choose a lower die. However, some other skills only trigger if you roll up to a certain number, meaning that you would have a possibility of or an easier time hitting those targets with the larger die.

This means that players only have to track one single die for every roll and they don’t need to track or add modifiers, however, each character is very distinguishable from the others by the abilities that they have. Someone with a 1d4 is going to be better at triggering their animal abilities on a 1 or a clue on a 4, but someone with a d10 is going to be able to use more gear and their willpower on a regular basis even if they aren’t getting those big moves. Having a team with a variety of strengths really helps, and there’s a lot of strategy involved in deciding which die and odds to choose.

Misses = lessons learned and epic bonuses

When you miss on a roll, in addition to any consequences that occur, players will also get a lessons token that they can use later to give themselves a bonus! They write their lesson down in a notebook (like, in my sample play, “vines are not a safe replacement for actual climbing rope”) and then can bring those up later when a boost is needed.

These boosts can be used to give advantage on a roll, negate disadvantage, or start a rock ballad as a group that causes the baddie to have a change of heart through the power of spontaneous synchronized musical productions!

Learn about the baddies

One small mechanic that I felt was VERY impactful was that all rolls against a baddie are at disadvantage until their motive is made clear! This means that if players skip the monologue or skip right to the end without searching for clues, they’re in a tough spot for the final showdown. Getting rid of the disadvantage once there’s some understanding of the baddie is a fantastic motivation for taking time to learn about what’s actually going on – it’s a great reward for solving the mystery!

Overall thoughts on Nancy Druid

I thought this game was cute, clever, and fun while also hitting MANY nostalgia points from my own childhood. Like I said in the intro blurb, I grew up with a lot of mysteries – I played every single HerInteractive Nancy Drew game, read all the Nancy Drew books, got into Sherlock Holmes, and was very into a mystery series about a dude with two cats that always helped him out with their weird shenanigans. This hit a lot of the feel that I remember from those stories and was wonderfully lighthearted in addition to being extremely accessible to young players with it’s system. It’s an awesome game, and I recommend checking it out for any young mystery-lovers out there.

Find a copy of Nancy Druid

You can find a copy of Nancy Druid on DriveThruRPG and through the 9th Level Games website!

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