We are NOT all nerds now. (or why Max Landis is wrong)

Its an interesting time now when “nerd culture,” and I use that loosely, is accepted in general public.  We are inundated with comic books and movies and video games to the point where most everyone knows who Wolverine is when ten years ago he was only known to a portion of us.  However, we are jumping the gun here and unlike what Max Landis had proclaimed we simply aren’t all nerds now.

I am not calling Max out because of some grudge but his declaration on the Video Games documentary reminded me of the current attitude that everyone seems to have right now.  Video games are everywhere, everyone is playing them, everyone is a gamer.  This simply isn’t true, and its not because I feel being a gamer is an exclusive club and that to qualify you have to play so many hours a week.  Sometimes I’m lucky if I get to play a few hours a week.  What I’m talking about though is the idea that because something becomes popular everyone is immediately part of the group and we all get to hold hands and skip.

Being nerdy inherently implies you are setting yourself aside, you have a huge amount of enthusiasm and love for something specific and you simply are not part of the average group of people when it comes to that topic.  I love video games, that makes me a gamer, not the skill level or the amount of time I commit to gaming every week but the fact that I love gaming.  With the advent of the new Marvel movie craze everyone just assumes that we all get to be nerds now.  My mother has enjoyed the new super hero movies a great deal, she is far from nerdy when it comes to super heroes.  I love books, does you reading a book immediately imply that we all love books and should be together.  We all know that when we get nerdy about something we are setting ourselves apart from the rest whether its video games or football.  It never bothered us if our love for something was popular or not we loved it anyhow and that’s what people get wrong when it comes to “nerd culture.”

What is probably the biggest catalyst for claiming everyone is a nerd now is the desire not to be exclusive.  Anyone who has ever loved anything, which is everyone, has known the feeling of being left out.  Being big into comic books doesn`t usually garner a great deal of popular support.  Being isolated isn`t fun and we all would like to share what we love with everyone else.  Its unsurprising though that when most of us feel left out or ostracized we get excited about the idea that everyone is coming around.

The problem is this simply isn`t true.  Just because your a dork, a nerd, a gamer, or however you care to define yourself that`s what makes you special.  Even if its been used to hurt you or make you feel bad being a nerd isn’t wrong and there is anything wrong with you.  One of the greatest things about getting older is you begin to embrace what you are more and care what people think less.  If your into video games then so be it, be happy about that and if other people join you then that`s great too.   Don`t feel bad for being different, what makes you different is what makes you special.  Just because a lot of people have come to love Lord of the Rings it doesn`t mean I love it less or that we all are immediately nerdy for enjoying the movies.  Hopefully what we do get is more understanding when someone geeks out over something you don`t care for because hey, you do it too.

Suck it internet, ill see you later.


Podcast Episode 94 – Part A

Hello all you internet reprobates. How are you doing, as if we cared. We are doing as well as can be expected from your total lack of interest. So, the question that we ask right now is: what is wrong with you? I mean other than your glaring lack of intelligence. Did life beat you with the idiot stick? (said in a condescending tone of voice, darn the internet for it’s lack of vocal context). Or did you just run into the bar again (you can think about that one, but remember the second guy should have seen the first guy hit it).

Jason hasn’t been reading as much this week as in previous weeks. He was playing the Borderlands DLC that came out this week. So far it has been interesting. He’s also been reading Moon Knight. Rhett has added Rome 2 to his repertoire this week, that is in addition to retro games. Lindsay has been taking tests and studying (how nerdy can you get?).

In his email, Chance sets us right on how he became a fan of Halestorm, complains about the audio from the last episode, and complains that the game offerings for the next gen consoles is very disappointing. Basically we have the next gen consoles, but the games are just recycled games from the previous generation. Hey, we’ve said they have no creativity. Then he asks what we’ve been up to, but we already went over that so he goes on to what he’s been doing: playing Rage, Jade Empire, Morrowind, Justice League Legends, Superman Rise of Apokalips, Spider-man Friend or Foe, and NCAA. He was a bit disappointed with the end of Rage, no main boss.

In Lindsay’s favorite segment of the show:

  • Pokemon
  • Man forced to sell house because Comcast lied
  • New Darth Vader comic
  • TIE fighter game homage video
  • WWE event featuring Roman Reigns
  • Gameblast charity raises £120K
  • Apple CEO to donate fortune to charity
  • Indiana governor signs Religious Freedom Restoration Act
  • Gen Con stuck in Indiana until 2020
  • Epic awards dev grants
  • Activision announces number of Call of Duty games sold to date
  • California teen arrested for swatting
  • Crowfall raises $1.8 million on kickstarter
  • Pillars of Eternity released
  • Northern Ireland schools get Minecraft
  • Loophole in net neutrality
  • Bloodborne petitions
  • Battlefield Hardline DRM issues
  • EA says Battlefield Hardline DRM issues are caused by Origin
  • Nintendo going mobile not due to shareholder pressure
  • Rust players not liking new race options
  • Racist players on Rust are hunted by community
  • Researchers using Kinect to help Muscular Dystrophy patients
  • In Tune game
  • UK Police commissioner wants GTA and similar games to be adults only
  • Twitch was hacked
  • Hidden code may prove Heroes Charge violates copyright
  • Bloodborne requires 2.69GB day one update
  • Legend of Zelda for WII U delayed
  • Walking Dead spinoff series get name
  • More fallout from Kojima and Konami
  • NBC orders sequel for Coach
  • Imperial Star Destroyer drone
  • 50 Shades of Grey director not returning for sequels
  • New costume for Deadpool movie revealed
  • Twitch streamers padding viewer numbers

Let us know what you think about the topics discussed tonight by commenting on our Twitter account, comment here on blog, or go to the forum. You can also email us at
thedistractedgamers@gmail.com and support us on Patreon.

The Distracted Gamers Podcast Episode 94 – Part A

Podcast Episode 93 – Part B

Legendary Battle of the Action Heroes - Guns Edition

Here we are at episode 93 part B and you are helpless to stop it (cue maniacal laugh). This is all part of our diabolical plan to educate you against your will. That’s right there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s too late for resistance. You will be educated.

In this episode of the podcast we have Rhett reacting to the top 10 most dangerous sports. This list contains sports like ice hockey, boxing, and gymnastics, but it is missing things like base jumping. Afterward we talk about a new concept for an RPG. We then report some surprising news about comic-con – Marvel isn’t going.

We wind up the show with battle between Judge Dredd and John Matrix. Judge Dredd is a genetically altered human who is smart, ruthless, armored and armed with advanced weaponry. John Matrix is the quintessential 80’s action hero. He is almost magical. We are now down to the final four. The next round of our combat will pit John McClane against Robocop.

Let us know what you think about the topics discussed tonight by commenting on our Twitter account or comment here our blog or go to the forum. You can also email us at

The Distracted Gamers Podcast Episode 93 – Part B

Podcast Episode 93 – Part A

The Indefatigable DG Podcast has returned to brighten your horrid little lives. Don’t let our magnanimity fool you we aren’t doing this for ourselves. Every week we put together brilliant and sparkling dialog and we mesh them seamlessly with quality content. And we do it all for you. We do it so your squalid little lives will have a bright, shining

Rhett, Jason, and Lindsay host the podcast this week. Jason hasn’t been reading Gotrek and Felix he has been playing Dishonored, watching videos from Tales from the Borderlands, and watching Last of the Summer Wine, among other things. Lindsay has been doing homework since school is now back in session. Rhett has been retro gaming. We also talk about Russian dashboard cams. If you haven’t seen the Russian dash cams you have been missing out.

In Chance’s email you can tell how bored he is. He is so bored that he almost wishes that some juveniles would enter the store. He had to ask some girls to leave the bedding section recently. He got out some of the games he hasn’t played recently. He re-took up Rage which he compares to the love child of Borderlands and Mass Effect which was adopted and raised by Halo. He also replaced the 72 pin connector on his NES. This led to him contemplating picking up Dishonored or Bioshock Infinite. He recently had some good news and is looking forward to RiverFest this year. His favorite band will be there – Halestorm. He is going to inflict his music choice on his son, which is what a responsible parent does. He relates a similar experience to a recent one that Rhett had. It involved going out on a date while broke.

The news dump this week features some interesting news:

  • Konami will make more Metal Gear game
  • Kojima is leaving Konami
  • The meaning behind the Metal Gear games
  • Naruto is getting a stage musical
  • More characters confirmed for Mortal Kombat X
  • Jim Parsons – Big Bang Theory – wants to play the Riddler
  • Minecraft most popular videos on Youtube
  • Form Epic boss has reservations about VR
  • Amazon has a new service – Unlocked
  • Nintendo moving into mobile market
  • HBO Go and Sony seeking considerations from internet providers
  • Square Enix shutting down Final Fantasy XI for Xbox 360 and PS2
  • Skate Man Intense Rescue use DMCA takedown against Jim Sterling
  • Give blood in Copenhagen get Bloodbourne free
  • Two men steal consoles @ gunpoint from Frys
  • Final Fantasy XV demo being sold on eBay
  • League of Legends to stay PC and Mac only
  • Layoff at Perfect World Entertainment
  • Microsoft to allow pirated Windows 7 to upgrade to 10 in China
  • Steam reviewers must disclose paid endorsements
  • Elder Scrolls Online now free-to-play
  • Another SWAT incident on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Gamestop isn’t terrible, just bad at recycling
  • Net Neutrality has major loophole to combat copyright infringement
  • Predator doing Capoeira

Let us know what you think about the topics discussed tonight by commenting on our Twitter account or comment here our blog or go to the forum. You can also email us at

The Distracted Gamers Podcast Episode 93 – Part A

Podcast Episode 92 – Part B

Legendary Battle of the Action Heroes - Guns Edition

Well, look what the cat dragged in. Have you ever seen such a pathetic excuse for an educated human being? It looks to me like when they created you they broke the mold. Then they pulverized it. Then they scattered a third to the wind, a third was buried, and the final third was thrown in the incinerator so that there would never be a the chance of another you.

Rhett and Jason are back with another exciting episode. Jason has finally played a real video game. He played Dishonored again. He’s still been reading which definitely cuts into gaming. Rhett scored boyfriend points by traveling with his girlfriend and providing emotional support this weekend. He also picked up some used Sega Genesis games and found that he can’t use them. Evidently, EA reverse engineered the process for creating Genesis games and extorted Sega like the complete and utter scum that they are.

The conversation then turns to sci-fi. During a recent drive Jason remarked to Rhett that the movie titles on the marquee held no interest for him. It wasn’t until later that he found out that Chappie is about Artificial Intelligence. AI is currently a pipe dream, and has been for years, of scientists in the field of computers and robotics. There are so many films and books about AI and how much better or worse the world would be if we had AI. We discuss our impressions and feelings about AI and how it is portrayed.

We then turn the conversation to the outbreak of political correctness and affirmative action that has been inflicting comics recently. Jason mentioned to Rhett that the new Ms. Marvel is Muslim. He thought that meant the actress playing her until Jason clarified that she is a teenage Muslim from New Jersey. At that point we question why comic book writers have to kill off established characters then replace them with minorities. We have nothing against minorities. We want a well written comic book about a minority character that doesn’t rely on killing off a mainstream character. Like creating a female Thor or a black Captain America. Sam Wilson was great as Falcon. The female Thor should have been a strong character in her own right without having to get rid of Thor himself. We make some suggestions that will be ignored or mangled, but tell us what you think.

Finally, we debate tonight’s match up between Robocop and Rambo. Robocop was a police officer until he was nearly killed in the line of duty. He was then converted into a cyborg. Rambo is a trained soldier and killer who suffers from PTSD. He is an expert at guerrilla tactics and silent takedowns. Next week’s match up will pit Judge Dredd against John Matrix. Tell us who you think would win.

Let us know what you think about the topics discussed tonight by commenting on our Twitter account or comment here our blog or go to the forum. You can also email us at

The Distracted Gamers Podcast Episode 92 – Part B

Podcast Episode 92 – Part A

So, you have returned to the DG Podcast. I should have know that you would come crawling back. What makes you think that I will take you back after what you pulled? Maybe if I thought you had learned your lesson or that you showed some real remorse, but I know you too well. You’re too thick to have learned from your mistakes. To get a new idea into you head we would need to drill through an inch of bone first and not with an ordinary drill, I’m talkin’ industrial drill press here with diamond tipped drill bits, Thicky McThickerson.

Rhett, Jason, and Lindsay are bringing you the DG Podcast today. It is spring break for Lindsay, so she had been doing absolutely nothing productive with her time. She played and beat the Little Mermaid, she killed a guy, talks about Anchorman, played Diablo, played Armada, and played I Made a Game with Zombies in it. Jason has been busy reading more Gotrek and Felix as well as noting that the next episode of Tales from the Borderlands is coming out this month as well as new DLC for Borderlands the Pre-Sequel. He also shares that one of his favorite authors, Terry Pratchett, has passed away. Terry Pratchett is the creator of the Discworld, something you should check out. He did play Ice Hockey, Galactic Attack, and Virtua Fighter 2. Rhett chatted with Chance, played video games with Lindsay and Jason.

In Chance’s email he wishes us a great Friday the 13th and gives us the appropriate warnings to survive the day. He then shares with us that he and his wife are expecting. They are hoping for a girl and we wish them luck. Evidently, his son isn’t too thrill about the prospect (he doesn’t know yet). He also provides some helpful advice about how not to react when your wife tell you she is pregnant. He has been retro gaming mostly. His expensive new PS4 is sitting mostly untouched because the library is woefully small still. So, he’s been playing Super Mario 3 and Punch Out. He’s also been playing some mods of retro games like Knifeboy, Super Alice Bros, and nude Double Dragon (which is disturbing if you think about it). Sexy cosplay may be banned in major conventions. Wonder Woman and Superman both get new costumes, only Wonder Woman’s is any good. Cortana is coming to Android.

The news dump this week:

  • PAX bans booth babes – is sexy cosplay next
  • Valve receives “F” in customer service
  • Are the cops in GTA V racist?
  • Skyrim modders help man mourn his brother
  • Mom fulfills promise, plays Mario Bros w/son on wedding day
  • Fan made Starcraft shooter looks awesome
  • Police officer fired for racist comments made online
  • State of Decay full of penises
  • AT&T throttles unlimited data plans
  • Destiny – best game at BAFTA
  • Shadow of Mordor – best game design at BAFTA
  • Sony leaves hacked PSN users responsible
  • $700K grant for game from National Science Foundation
  • FCC releases 400 page net neutrality doc
  • Turkey will not ban Minecraft
  • 29 republicans received kickbacks from telecom companies for net neutrality
  • Congresswoman wants FBI and DOJ to prosecute online harassment
  • New IP Tsar
  • Women centric DLC for Europa Universalis IV
  • Petition to bring Modern Warfare 2 to next gen consoles
  • Ghostbusters director surprised by internet backlash on all women cast
  • Marvel comics and things they should do instead
  • Charlene’s Bros – to counteract all female Ghostbusters

Let us know what you think about the topics discussed tonight by commenting on our Twitter account or comment here our blog or go to the forum. You can also email us at

The Distracted Gamers Podcast Episode 92 – Part A

Terry Pratchett – the Creator of Discworld has Passed

Terry Pratchett died on March 12, 2015. I was saddened to hear of his passing. His writing has delighted and amused me for a number of years now. For those of you who are not aware of Terry Pratchett’s contributions to the world of literature, he wrote 70 books. That is an amazing achievement. However, he is probably best know for his Discworld series, of which he wrote 40 volumes. I have all of his Discworld novels except the latest, released last summer, but I will add it to my collection. Pratchett was a funny, brilliant author and I thoroughly enjoyed his work. I have even read some of his stories to my children, though I think that they are a bit young to understand all the jokes and humor in his novels.

The Discworld is an amazing place. It has dragons, wizards, barbarians, tourists, ambulatory luggage, witches, Death, the Auditors, an orangutan, and much, much more. That’s right I said tourist and Auditors. If you like serious fantasy then you may not want to check these out. However, if you enjoy Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you may have just found your new favorite series. First and foremost, the Discworld series is a fantasy series about swords and sorcery, damsels in distress and dragons, but then things take a turn for the funny. The main characters are a bizarre mix of the fantastic. In the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, we are introduced to Rincewind, Twoflower, and the Luggage. Rincewind is a failed wizard and a coward. Twoflower is the Disc’s first tourist. And the Luggage is homicidal and sadistic and will follow its owner anywhere. Together these three have to save the Disc from imminent destruction. Along the way they meet Cohen the Barbarian, the most famous adventuring barbarian ever to grace the Disc. Trouble is Cohen is over 80 years old and toothless. Don’t let that fool you, he is still probably the most dangerous man alive. You will also meet Carrot Ironfoundersson a dwarf that just happens to be 6’6″ tall, the librarian at Unseen University who happens to be an orangutan and quite happy in his current shape, Death – tall, bony, handy with a scythe, and TALKS IN CAPTIAL LETTERS, the Wee Free Men – think smurfs but fighting mad, obscene, and their swords glow blue in the presence of lawyers, I could keep going. There are 40 books in the series after all. You can find something that you want to read in the series.

My top 10 favorite Discworld novels are:

The Colour of Magic

Rincewind, a failed wizard and professional coward, must escort Twoflower, the Disc’s first tourist, as he wanders around Ankh-Morpork looking at things. In trying to keep the tourist out of trouble, he encounters dragons, demons, barbarians, thieves, assassins, and ends up falling off the Disc.

The Light Fantastic

The sequel to the Colour of Magic, Rincewind and Twoflower continue their travels encountering a gingerbread house, flying trilithons, the creator’s own grimoire, and the greatest hero on the Disc – Cohen the barbarian, now 80 years old and still in the business.

The Last Hero

Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde are angry with the gods for allowing them to get old, so they decided to ascend Cori Celesti, the Mountain of the Gods, to return fire to the gods – in the form of high-powered explosives. The City Watch, the wizards of Ankh-Morpork, and various civic leaders scramble to find out how they can stop them from ending the world.

Interesting Times

Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde decide to conquer the Agatean Empire, the population decided to rise up against an unpopular aristocracy, and Rincewind, accompanied by the Luggage, just tries to survive to return to Ankh-Morpork. Unfortunately for Rincewind, the gods have other ideas.

The Wee Free Men

Tiffany wants to become a witch like her grandmother. Unfortunately, the Queen of the Fairies kidnaps Tiffany’s little brother. Fortunately, Tiffany has the help of the Wee Free Men. There’s nothing they won’t fight, despite only being six inches tall. They are immensely proud of ability to drink, fight, and steal, often at the same time.

Reaper Man

Death gets fired. Suddenly finding himself out of a job, he applies to be a day laborer at a farm. Meanwhile, nothing is dying as there’s no one to escort the recently departed to their final reward. The wizards get involved when a new threat arises in the form of snow globes and a mall.

Guards! Guards!

Carrot Ironfoundersson, a 6’6″ dwarf, goes to the big city to join the watch. In the watch he finds Captain Vimes, a bitter alcoholic, Sergeant Colon, a professional sergeant, and Corporal Nobbs, the world’s pettiest criminal. Things start looking up for the watch until a dragon appears to terrorize city.

Men at Arms

Captain Sam Vimes of the City Watch is getting married. Carrot Ironfoundersson might be the long lost heir of the throne of Ankh-Morpork. The Watch gets some new recruits – a dwarf, a troll, and a werewolf. Then someone starts killing heads of guilds and other civic leaders.

Where is My Cow?

Captain Sam Vimes of the City Watch reads a bedtime story to his son. The book is all about animals and the sounds they make, which confuses Sam. His son is a city boy and has never seen these animals, so he changes the story.


War is brewing between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch and it turns out that someone is trying to expedite the situation. Sam Vimes, commander of the City Watch, is determined to investigate and make sure that it doesn’t happen. Carrot and the rest of the New Watch, complete with dwarves, trolls, and werewolf, are determined to follow him even if it means that they have to arrest armies to do so. Also featuring Nobby in drag.

Podcast Episode 91 – Part B

Legendary Battle of the Action Heroes - Guns Edition

The DG Podcast has returned with barely a whimper. What did you expect, a lion’s roar? Between Rhett and Jason we can barely manage to care. Even if we had legions of adoring fans, our apathy knows no bounds. So, why do we continue week after week? Why do we pretend to care about your intellectual well-being? We can’t let the idiots win. With us, it’s almost like a grudge, and if you don’t start listening your name will be written down.

Lindsay joins us on the show tonight. She is on spring break and has nothing better to do. Sad, isn’t it? Well, Jason’s basement partially flooded Saturday night. Rhett has been enjoying his retro games and systems like Hockey and Mario 3. Lindsay has been playing Soulstorm a Warhammer 40K game and I Made a Game with Zombies in It. Jason, other than bailing out his basement, has been reading more Gotrek and Felix (more Warhammer), and Night Watch.

This leads us into a discussion about movies. Night Watch was made into two movies, Night Watch and Day Watch. Now, there are three books in the series, Night Watch, Day Watch and Twilight Watch, but Night Watch was split into two movies. Jason had remembered hearing about the movie but hadn’t wanted to see it until they dubbed the movie into English, it’s a Russian movie. So, he finally got around to seeing the movies and did his usual thing, comparing them to the book. This gets Rhett talking about Metro, another Russian book series. The whole lead up is to get us thinking about books that have decent movie versions. We discuss the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Rosario Vampire, Blade Runner, Exodus, Gods and Kings, and the new Noah movie. Which leads us into talking about religion and movies. Hollywood keeps trying to make religious movies that are artsy and no one wants that kind of movie. Lindsay brings up Catwoman, Anaconda, and Batman and Robin. She has a thing for bad movies.

Rhett then tries to draw Lindsay into the conversation by introducing the Steam Machines. There are 15 versions of the new Steam console! All from different manufactures. This sounds like a really bad idea, at least if they don’t make some changes soon.

We finally return to our tournament with the battle between Frank Martin and Mad Max. Frank Martin is the Transporter. He is a former special forces soldier and is an amazing driver. He is smart, cunning, and plans well. Mad Max is a former police officer in a post-apocalyptic Australia. He is cunning and crazy. He has to be because of his world. Our next round features Rambo versus Robocop.

Let us know what you think about the topics discussed tonight by commenting on our Twitter account or comment here our blog or go to the forum. You can also email us at

The Distracted Gamers Podcast Episode 91 – Part B

Podcast Episode 91 – Part A

Again the DG Podcast rises from the ashes that were the remains of our last episode. We keep trying to raise the intellectual level of the internet, but it’s an uphill battle. There are too many people like Douchiepie that keep dragging the internet into the gutters. Not that you are any great help. You people are the ones that support guys like that. Fight back against the increasing stupidity of the internet.

We have Lindsay on the show with us tonight and after the usual chat we start with the email from Chance. He’s been dealing with drama at work. He had a company wide conference that was mandatory. He also had to deal with an ice storm. His wife doesn’t like driving on ice, which is understandable. He had to book a motel for him and his wife. According to him, the pillows were velvet bricks. He then responds to our comments on net neutrality. He wants to the market to be free, open competition rather than region locking. He also wants the backbone to be more robust, but he doesn’t want the cost to be passed on to the people who either use the services or the consumers. It is a nice desire, but it’s not going to happen. We also talk briefly about the Sega news and the news about Phil Harrison and the release date of project Morpheus.

In Lindsay’s favorite portion of the show:

  • The new Jurassic Park movie
  • Monster movie crossing a great white with a blue whale and giving it human intelligence and legs
  • new Spider-man movie won’t feature origin
  • Andrew Garfield wanted Spider-man to be bi
  • EA shuts down Maxis – studio behind original SIM City
  • Comcast blocking HBO Go
  • Young asian committed suicide after dad told him to turn off the video games
  • Harrison Ford in a plane crash
  • Adventure Time movie
  • Duck Tales returning to television in 2017
  • nVidia announces new console
  • Shadows of Mordor wins Game of Year
  • New images of the Steam controller
  • PewDiePie wants people to stop making obscene requests
  • Resident Evil episodic gets good reviews
  • Internet Archives – save video games for posterity
  • Gold subscription not needed to play multiplayer on Windows 10
  • Epic Games Unreal dev grants
  • Netflix accused of hypocrisy on net neutrality
  • 20.2 million PS4s sold
  • Notch makes Forbes list
  • Resident Evil 2 local co-op controversy – Capcom relents
  • Open Gaming Alliance says PC gaming market will be worth $35 billion
  • Unreal Engine free to everyone
  • PAX panel – when to step away from the screen
  • Magfest
  • Republican bill seeks to remove FCC’s power to enforce net neutrality

Let us know what you think about the topics discussed tonight by commenting on our Twitter account or comment here our blog or go to the forum. You can also email us at

The Distracted Gamers Podcast Episode 91 – Part A


A couple of episodes ago we talked about RPGs. We have talked about pencil and paper RPGs a few times and Chance has become curious, asking for recommendations as to where he should start.

Getting into pencil and paper rpgs can be a bit daunting. There are so many to choose from and they all have different rule sets. Plus, the more popular rpgs periodically release new editions. So, should you start with the latest version or should you go back to an earlier edition?

I think that the first thing you should do is to think about what you like. Do you like dragons, swords, magic, and princesses? Or do you prefer the occult and Lovecraftian horror? Maybe you prefer giant robots, superheroes, or aliens. Basically, whatever it might be, there is probably an rpg that covers it. Mutants? Check. Space? Check. Post-apocalyptic wasteland? Check. Old west? Yes. Lord of the Rings, I hear Chance ask? Of course.

Once you have decided on the genre you want, I recommend looking for a d20 system. d20 systems are fairly straight forward and easy to learn. However, finding a d20 system that caters to your interest may not be possible. The Dragon Age rpg, (yes there is a pencil and paper version), isn’t a d20 system. At this point you either go forward or find a new genre. Just because some guy on the internet recommends a d20 system doesn’t mean you have to start with a d20 system. Odds are if you like the genre, you will like the system. And if you don’t like the game, you can always pick another. There are many different types of systems. You could opt for a percentage system like Warhammer. You roll 2d10 (or two ten-sided dice for the uninitiated) add or subtract a little, based on your character, and that determines the success of your actions. Deadlands Reloaded uses another scheme entirely where your statistics determine the number of sides on the dice you have to roll. You have a strong character you roll a d8 for strength checks, but his intelligence is low so you roll a d4 on tasks that require intelligence.

Let’s talk for a moment about character creation. In my opinion, character creation is one of the best parts of an rpg. Again each rpg is going to be a little different when it comes to character creation, but they’re going to share some commonalities. First, you are going to generate your character’s stats, things like strength, intelligence, etc. Then you will pick a race, if available, and a class, or your character’s job in the game. You then decide on your character’s abilities and buy his starting equipment. Want to be an elven warrior? Want to be an occult investigator? Or a superhero with power over fire? This is where you create your character. Some systems give you more or less control over this process. The Palladium system, Heroes Unlimited, uses die rolls to determine what kind of superhero your character will be. I once played a cyborg who believed that his powers wouldn’t work if he didn’t carry a piece of celery dipped in yogurt. He didn’t have to eat it, just carry it in his pocket. This was all decided on the role of the die. I have also played a half-elf fighter. I chose his race, class, and abilities myself. After that he became a reluctant hero of Pelor, the God of the Sun, but that was all roleplaying and the Game Master.

Warhammer has an interesting way of creating a character. Character creation is that same as many other systems until you get to the point where you decide on your character’s role in the game. Instead of having classes like fighter, sorcerer, or bard, you get to roll 2d10 to get a random occupation. Have you ever wanted to roleplay as a rat catcher? This game is for you. How about a bone picker or a charcoal-burner? Warhammer has you covered. Not all of the occupations in Warhammer are as ignominious, you could be a soldier, a shieldbreaker, or a mercenary. The beauty of the Warhammer system is that you aren’t limited to your starting occupation. As you play and gain experience you can progress to other, more prestigious occupations. Let’s say that you started out as a rat catcher. Once you have gained enough experience and met the prerequisites you can move into a new career. You keep all the skills and talents that you developed as a rat catcher and can acquire more from your new career. Your career options are always restricted by your current career. So you can’t, for instance move from rat catcher to noble or wizard. You don’t develop the prerequisite skills as a rat catcher for those occupations, but you might be able to make it into those occupations depending on whether you become a grave robber or a shieldbreaker after you gain enough experience as a rat catcher.

Now, should you start with the latest edition or should you select an older edition. I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, it is easier to acquire the source books for the newer editions. Some of the books for the older editions have become collectors’ items and are priced accordingly. On the other hand, the older editions might have pre-made adventures that you can use to start your game. I recommend checking forums and the like online to see what fans of the rpg you want to try say about the various editions. Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts like versions 3 and 3.5. Version 4, while maintaining some of the core mechanics, introduced several new concepts that are popular in MMOs and video game rpgs, but add a layer of complexity to the game. While version 5 is a return to the simpler mechanics of 3 and 3.5. If you are joining a group that is already established, your decision will likely be made for you. These groups tend to have already decided on their preferred system and version.

Another thing you might want to consider is the number of pre-made adventures available for the system. If there aren’t very many, then you are going to have to come up with the adventures yourself. You can do searches online for adventures for the system that you want to play. The rpg community does have a few places online where they will post pre-made adventures.

Finally, you need to find others who want to play the same rpg. This is perhaps the most difficult part. There are many rpg groups that meet at comics and game shops. So, you may find a group to join there. Whatever you do, you want to find a group that is committed to playing. It is very frustrating to show up for a session and find that you are the only one there. I once played a Star Wars campaign where every week we had different players. The absent players were “back on the ship”.

Anyway, have fun and if you have questions, comments, or a favorite rpg, let me know.