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Pay-to-Play RPG Paid GMs: Are You Worth It?

What would you pay for a Game Master?

Almost every tabletop RPG requires a GM, yet when it comes to constructing a group the dreaded question is “who will run it?” Many players are put off by the role of GM, whether they are new to the hobby, they don’t want to manage the expectations of others or they prefer to control a single character. I know there are notable exceptions; I am someone who prefers GMing to playing a character, but that is a rare exception. Even I want to step out of the place of control and experience someone else’s world from time to time. In the event that you are a player who cannot find a facilitator I ask, what price are you willing to invest for paid GMs? Continue reading Pay-to-Play RPG Paid GMs: Are You Worth It?

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D&D Dragonborn Illustrate Why the Reason Why Matters

The inclusion of breasts on dragonborn in Dungeons & Dragons is a subject that I’ve noticed come up on occasion. I’m aware that it’s a thing that was included in fourth edition D&D dragonborn, but they’ve since been removed from fifth edition D&D. This is official canon, coming straight from the mouth of the developers themselves:

Continue reading D&D Dragonborn Illustrate Why the Reason Why Matters

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D&D adventure within adventure at Gen Con 50

D&D Gen Con adventure

D&D Gen Con adventureA couple of days have passed since returning home from Gen Con 50 adventure. Decompression and recovery efforts were successful – getting back to the gym and catching up on sleep work wonders!

All the physical stuff is unpacked, flipped through wistfully, played again, read, and admired now on the shelf. So I thought I’d unpack the intangibles to share. The memories, experiences and lessons for fellow nerds and gamers.

I love me some tabletop games, and this trip to gamers mecca did not disappoint. But of all the games in all the world, that sweet, sweet D&D is my favorite. Continue reading D&D adventure within adventure at Gen Con 50

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A D&D Player Needs All the Stuff, a D&D DM Needs Even More Stuff!

D&D stuff

In this video Nate the Nerdarch and Nerdarhchists Dave and Ted approach the idea of bookkeeping for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons or any tabletop roleplaying game from several avenues. Pregame preparation, character maintenance and efficiency during play are some of the topics discussed.

The standout aspect for me is preparing for a game session by making sure you have all the materials you need. My group meets to play D&D or whatever game we get into at a local coffeeshop. There’s a private room we reserve in the back to while away the evening rolling funny-shaped dice and speaking with funny-sounding voices. Every session requires a mental checklist before heading out the door to account for all the necessary stuff. And then a double-check. And then a quick assessment of more stuff that might be needed. Continue reading A D&D Player Needs All the Stuff, a D&D DM Needs Even More Stuff!

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Product Review: Monopoly Gamer Puts Nintendo Twist on Classic Game

When I first heard about Monopoly Gamer, I rolled my eyes. “Yet another cheap shot at gamers to buy Monopoly for the 50th time with a dumb gimmick,” I thought to myself. It’s not the first time a company slapped “Gamer” onto a product in a cheap attempt to sell a few more products. (Full disclosure: I did end up buying one some time later, with some personal disgust in my heart, but I couldn’t pass up the color scheme.)

At first glance, it’s just Monopoly with plastic Mario figures instead of generic metal ones, and coins instead of money. Plus, they’re adding IRL downloadable content by means of extra figures you can buy. Commence even deeper eye roll. However, as ashamed as I am of myself, that was enough for me to buy it. Continue reading Product Review: Monopoly Gamer Puts Nintendo Twist on Classic Game

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5 Laughable Things That Destroyed A Campaign

“Cambers Quarreling” by Jan Steen, circa 1665 [Image courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts]
Well here we go again with a response to a video from our Nerdarchy YouTube channel. Specifically the bearded boys had listed what they have seen destroy a campaign to the point that those occurrences can guarantee the fall of your campaign.

I do believe any campaign could survive things that would destroy others, and D&D is a game that can accommodate so many different styles to the point I do not feel safe guaranteeing anything will happen.

What I will say is I have seen things destroy campaigns that would make you roll save vs death from laughter. That being said, I will not name the people who destroyed these campaigns, but I will describe things as I remember them now.

Ahh yes, the mists of time cloud all. Here we go with my experiences, and I would love to hear your experiences. Continue reading 5 Laughable Things That Destroyed A Campaign

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Improv is Critical in RPG Storytelling


Improvisational theatre in progress. [Image by Aude Vanlathem/]
Tabletop RPGs are deeply rooted in improvisation. After all, they’re games where people do things by saying they’re going to do them, and everyone else has to react to what’s being done by saying what they’re going to do.


This process repeats for two to four hours, or until there’s a good stopping point. Even Game Masters who prefer a more structured style are going to improvise more dialogue than they’ll use their actual prepared material.

This does not even include all the improv for the inevitable unplanned encounters, or how the GM has to improvise describing the outcomes of rolls – especially in combat. Technically you can just say what you’re going to do and exchange numbers across the table to determine success, and not describe what’s being said or done, but what would be the fun in that? Continue reading Improv is Critical in RPG Storytelling

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Open Legend RPG character build: Aetherficer Bunny

Open Legend RPG

You might be familiar with our Open Legend game “Aether Skies – The Beginning of the End.” Doug, Professor Bill, Ty and Megan have already done character builds for the game, and those articles were fascinating reads, so now I’m finishing up the series by stepping back onto the website and showing what is behind the curtain with my character.

Open Legend RPG is an open source roleplaying game designed by Brian Feister, who sponsors our weekly live game that streams on Fridays at noon Eastern on the Nerdarchy YouTube channel. The core rules for the game are available for free online here.

It feels weird writing an article again when I have not done so in so long. I might dive into stuff currently going on in the game or even stuff that has not been revealed yet so you have been warned. Continue reading Open Legend RPG character build: Aetherficer Bunny

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RPGS: To Roll Dice, Or Not To Roll Dice, That Is The Question

Several schools of thought exist when it comes to RPGs and the rolling of the funny-shaped dice we all love. Whether ’tis nobler at the gaming table to roll the d10s and d20s of outrageous fortune, or to roleplay against a sea of troubles, and by narrating end them.

In the video above, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted and Nate the Nerdarch reminisce on memorable dice rolls in their gaming experience, different ways to interpret roll outcomes and how a hot roll of the dice can have a big impact on the story. Continue reading RPGS: To Roll Dice, Or Not To Roll Dice, That Is The Question

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D&D Was Never a Game, It Was a Hidden, Complex Tool

Nerdarchy + GM Tips = an amazing LA adventure

Greetings Nerds, Geeks, and Gamers of all kinds. Nate the Nerdarch here.

This is my first time doing this so please bear with me.

It has come to my attention that an article on, the article that was previously in this link, did not meet Nerdarchy’s standards for articles when it was posted, and unfortunately, it was published. This was an error and we are correcting it. That is why the article was removed and this letter has taken its place.

The article was removed for several reasons. All of which conflict with the type of site wants to be.

  1. It was pure speculation without stating that it was just speculation. It attributed motives and desires of historical figures without interviews or references to back it up. There are parody sites out there and we are not interested in being one.
  2. It was unbelievable enough that the editor believed it was written as a parody, a joke. While the editor who published the article thought it was a parody, a significant portion of our readership did not think it. We are not interested in confusing our readers. EDIT: for Clarity. Upon reading the author’s reply in the comments, stating that it was not written as a joke, the editor took down the original article.
  3. We consider the overall message of the article undermines Nerdarchy’s mission to grow nerd culture and nerdy hobbies.

Here, at, as well as Nerdarchy in general, we encourage the diverse group of writers who write articles on our site to exercise their freedom to explore any topic as long as the topic is relevant to our overall mission. That mission is to assist in the growing of nerd culture and the hobbies associated with it, like D&D.

In the end we believe that the referenced article failed to meet that standard. Worse than that, it was deleterious to the overall mission of Nerdarchy.

Sorry for any confusion this may have caused and thank you for your time and consideration.

Stay Nerdy,

Nate the Nerdarch

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Gaming Superstitions

In an effort to combine the Nerdarchy YouTube channel and the website articles, I am drawing inspiration directly from this video. The subject at hand is gaming superstitions. To begin with let’s define the concept, shall we? Superstition is defined as “a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or practice based on such belief.” With that in mind, let’s delve into a few I have seen, heard of, or been told about. Continue reading Gaming Superstitions

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Using Tabletop RPGs for Social Empathy

I’m not really going to go about proving that science fiction sometimes gets used as a tool to pursue social issues. It’s well documented, and I don’t feel like I need to prove it. Star Trek is practically built on it. Fantasy novels aren’t immune from it, either. Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series bleeds social issues, perhaps even to its own detriment.

social tabletop RPGsTabletop RPGs aren’t exclusively fantasy and science fiction, but it’s hard to avoid their significant presence in the hobby. After all, we already live in a world of Houses & Humans.

Why would we want to spend four hours a week (way more than that for GMs) steeped in daily chores and making sure you include the TPS report cover sheet? It’s far more fun to enjoy something far outside of ourselves, usually with at least some fantasy elements, be it a western, superhero, or a horror game.

There’s actually another reason for that. As children, steeping ourselves in extraordinary worlds helps us learn about the real world around us. We’re able to experiment in a safe environment. As adults, that still holds true. In fact, I would argue that it’s more important for adults. Continue reading Using Tabletop RPGs for Social Empathy

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D&D grung and other monsters are people, too

D&D monsters

Monsters as notable NPCs and player characters in D&D is something I’ve touched on in past columns, including last week’s exploration of the similarities between a TTRPG GM and a Swiss Army knife. Since then, I ran the “Grungle in the Jungle” adventure idea for my gaming group. Inspired by Stream of Annihilation’s One Grung Above from WotC Product Manager Christopher Lindsay this adventure puts the players in control of a band of grung from Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Continue reading D&D grung and other monsters are people, too

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Skylanders tabletop roleplaying game short campaign (Obsidian Keen)

I am fortunate to be friends with Ted Adams, a Nerdarchy Founder. Ted and I have two distinct things in common:

  • Dungeons & Dragons fans
  • Skylanders video game fans

Ted has an extensive collections of Skylanders (dwarfing my collection) and recently he proposed that we create a Skylanders tabletop roleplaying game short campaign (e.g. three sessions). I agreed that this was a good idea and began the task of pulling this campaign together. That task prompted a few decisions.

Toys that come to life in Skylanders bring the exciting action to your tabletop roleplaying game experience!

Continue reading Skylanders tabletop roleplaying game short campaign (Obsidian Keen)

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Starfinder Twitch premiere reveal event June 13!

The cover for the Starfinder Core Rulebook, from Paizo Publishing

Hey, nerds! We’re sure you’re all super excited for the upcoming release of Starfinder. We sure are! There are a lot of really cool things coming up in this game. Seven classes, rules for starship combat, magic — in space! And coming from the people who brought us Pathfinder you know this is going to be something really excellent.

So just in case you’ve been living under a rock or somehow stumbled onto the Nerdarchy website on accident due to a malfunction in your operating system or through a random surge of black magic, let’s review. Starfinder is a science fantasy game, set thousands of years in the future of its predecessor, Pathfinder. That means all of your old favorite races are still viable, and there are some new ones, too. Continue reading Starfinder Twitch premiere reveal event June 13!