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Author: Ty Johnston

Nerdarchy > Articles posted by Ty Johnston

Heroic Literature and Rogue Blades Foundation

When the dice come out for a tabletop roleplaying game, many of us like to play a hero. Often we gamers think of our characters as heroes and we like to have them perform heroic actions. Sure, sometimes it can be fun to play the bad guy, but at its heart of hearts, tabletop RPGs were originally based around the notion of heroes working together to overcome evil and obstacles. If one looks back at the roots of RPGs, the original Dungeons & Dragons was much based upon epic fantasy, a genre of literature teeming with heroes of one stripe or another.

Today, Rogue Blades Foundation (RBF) seeks to promote heroes and all things heroic within literature. What is RBF? A literary publisher of heroic fiction and heroic-related nonfiction.

Blast from the Past: Shogun Warriors

Shogun Warriors history


Five of the original Shogun Warriors in all their plastic, two-foot-tall awesomeness.

Long before most in the United States had heard the words “manga” or “anime,” and a generation before the world would discover the Power Rangers, there were the Shogun Warriors.

Based upon Japanese television shows, the Shogun Warriors were a collection of toys, mainly robots though there were also a few vehicles.

RPG character change: An Open Legend example

Change in character

open legendOften there are comparisons made between tabletop role-playing games and fiction, and though there are a lot of differences, there are similarities as both can be storytelling mediums. One similarity is in the importance of characters and character growth or change.

In fiction, character change is often thought of as a character arc, a transformation inwardly or outwardly or both during a character’s journey, during the character’s story. The same can apply to our characters in RPGs.

Basic advice on editing your novel

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First, you need to realize there are two basic different types of editing. There is line editing and plot editing (also called development editing).

Plot Editing

editingPlot editing is the guts of your novel. It’s not only the plot itself, but your characterizations and dialogue, structure and narrative. A lot of it is your style of telling your story. These things are important because you want your plot to make sense logically, your characters need to stand out from one another, and the characters’ dialogue needs to be appropriate and distinct; you don’t want all your characters to talk exactly the same because it’s boring to the reader. To add, your story structure needs to flow well to keep your plot moving. Narrative needs to remain consistent. All of this will help the reader enjoy their experience with your book all the more, and could have them wanting to see more work from you. Also, following these tips will make your writing appear strong to editors and publishers, and you want to look good to those people if you want to be a published novelist.

Writing violence in fiction: How much?

writing fiction violence

How much violence are you writing in your fiction? Is it enough? Is it too much?

Fiction and violence

Nearly all fiction writers are going to have violence of one form or another sooner or later in one of their short stories or novels. Fiction is about conflict, and violence is one of the most common forms of conflict. Even romance writers will occasionally have a sword-slinging hero rushing in to save the day, or a pistol-packing thug as the villain. In horror, violence is almost a given. Violence is also common in much fantasy and science fiction. And what would a Western be without a revolver or two or a lever-action rifle?

Screenwriting Broke My Writer’s Block

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Screenwriting saves the day

screenwritingI began writing fiction about thirty years ago, unless you count a couple of short novels I wrote back in fourth and sixth grades; those novels would be called fan fiction today, one being about James Bond and the other about Don Pendleton’s character The Executioner, Mack Bolan. But other than those early novels, the first real fiction I wrote was a short story called “Entering Jupiter.” I wrote that story for an astronomy class in college; the professor allowed me to do so instead of writing a paper.

Origins Game Fair 2017: A Nerdarchy report

Like a lot of people, I recently attended the 2017 Origins Game Fair convention in Columbus, Ohio. Like a lot of people, I spent days upon days walking and milling about the multitudes of rooms and halls that made up the convention, from the Exhibit Hall to the Gaming Hall to the Mayfair Room, the Catan Room, the Wizards of the Coast Jungle room, etc. Unlike a lot of people, I did not play any games at this year’s Origins; it wasn’t that I wasn’t interested, but that I did not have the time as I had other goals in mind, though often those goals were related to gaming. Still, I got to see a lot and meet a lot of people, as well as purchase plenty of goodies, so I thought I’d share some of my experience.

Open Legend RPG character build: Israel Amadeus

Israel characterOn Fridays at noon, the Nerdarchy crew as well as the writers here at the site have been playing an Open Legend tabletop RPG campaign live on YouTube. For those not familiar with the game, I thought I would offer up my own character, Israel Amadeus, as well as provide some info on his background and character creation. I also thought it might be interesting to see an Open Legend character sheet. For those who have watched the game, and especially those who have played with this character, I feel it necessary here to provide a spoiler warning. If you are interested in learning more about the campaign, please check out a sampling of the cities involved.

No, I will not write your book for you

write book writersWriters hear it all the time, especially fiction writers. “Hey, I’ve got a story idea for you!” Really? How nice. Often the person with the story idea is only trying to be helpful, but other times they have dollar signs in their eyes. For that second type of person, words to this nature usually soon come spewing forth, “How about I give you the idea, you write it and sell it and we split the profits?”

D&D 5e weapons nomenclature: When a longsword is not always a longsword

D&D and weapons


= Labeled diagram of a sword and its scabbard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weapons have always been a big part of Dungeons & Dragons. This makes sense considering combat has played a large role in D&D since the game’s earliest days. True, a Dungeon Master and players can enjoy tabletop roleplaying without combat, but usually there is some kind of conflict. Even for the most non-violent-oriented RPG players, often those interested far more in the RP aspects of the game than combat, there tends to be some form of conflict as this creates tension, and without this tension the characters within the game are living rather humdrum lives and the game itself can become quite dull.

So, conflict ensues, which often enough leads to physical conflict, actual combat. Despite the fantasy aspects of D&D, the magic and the monsters, weapons tend to make an appearance, usually weapons that are taken from the real world and history.

Should fiction writers join a writing group?

What is a writing group?

writing groupwriting group is a gathering of people for the purpose of critiquing each other’s writing. This is a fairly common practice among beginning fiction writers, but other writers can learn from it, too. Writing groups can be as small as a few people or they can be as large as 20 or so, but my thinking is anything beyond that becomes unwieldy.

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