Story Types

On September 27, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

There are as many plots in role playing as there are in genre fiction. They all boil down to “man in conflict,” but there are many different flavors of “man” and an equally high number of flavors of “conflict.” If I were to attempt to describe every nuanced type of story available to role players, […]

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Gaming Styles

On August 22, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

This month, I want to delve a bit into different styles of games. There are tons of different ways of playing a game, and in many cases it’s a mix ‘n’ match of different styles all merging into a cohesive thing. Some games lend themselves toward a certain style of play, but most of them […]

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Character Backgrounds

On July 24, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

I’m going to take a moment (or twelve) to talk about character backgrounds. Some (most?) folks view a character as a set of numbers, a list of abilities, and a collection of equipment that combine to define the character. These are merely surface details. You don’t get to know someone by looking at them and […]

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The Role of the Player

On June 26, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

As I said in my last post, the Game Master is the most pivotal person at the table, but the collection of players looking to the GM for fun are more potent than the man (or woman) running the world. Even the best GM with the most preparation can have a game derailed by players […]


R.I.P. Jack Vance

On May 30, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

News broke today that Jack Vance passed away a few days ago. Jack was a hugely influential fantasy and science fiction author with a career that spanned six decades. His works range from the highly acclaimed The Dying Earth series, to the Demon Prince series, to countless short stories, and so much more. How does […]

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The Role of the Game Master

On May 15, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

First off, let me say that I tend to use the term “Game Master,” or GM, when referring to the person sitting behind the screen. There are other names, and they include Dungeon Master, Loremaster, Storyteller, Referee (my least favorite), The Computer, Spymaster, and so on. One of the most important people at the table […]


The Current State of Role Playing Games

On April 17, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

I’ve talked a bit about the foundational history of role playing games. I think it’s time to talk a bit about how things stand these days. Release of the OGL The watershed moment for modern role playing came in 2000 with the release of Dungeon and Dragons, 3rd edition. The game itself wasn’t the most important […]

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History of Role Playing Games

On March 27, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

A Little Pre-History Crafting tales is at the root of role playing, and humanity has been telling stories since we could grunt out polysyllabic words. More recently, tabletop strategy games, or wargames, were created to hone military commanders’ skills. These wargames date back to the late 1700s and early 1800s. Skip forward to the 1960s, […]

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What Are Role Playing Games?

On February 20, 2013, in JT Evans, RP Nerd, by JT Evans

This is the first in what I hope will turn into a regular column here at Functional Nerds. I’m going to be talking about role playing games (RPGs). Before I delve too deeply into the nuance and history of this wonderful style of gaming, I figured I would start off by telling you what RPGs […]

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