Who is Terminally Nerdy?

This is a bit of an emotional thing towards the end. Bear with me here. I wanted to give you all an honest look at my life growing up. Why?

Wlel, it occurs to me that many new (and old) readers and followers on twitter probebly know very little about me. You might know I love Dungeons and Dragons, and Tabletop RPGs in general. You might be aware I am a huge lover of story driven video games, particularly RPGs. You might even have known about this website!

But who am I really?

My name is Clay.  I am going to be 36 years old this year.  I am a big ol goofy white guy from Florida, and I am Terminally Nerdy. Its both a name, and a description. I have been a nerd since I was a young kid in the 80’s. Growing up I was your typical fat white nerd. I was the kid who got bullied, made fun of, had no friends, and spent most of my time playing Atari (the 2600), Odyssey 2, and eventually my Sega Master System and NES. The first books ever read to me as a child were the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

I kept to myself growing up because, frankly, revealing I liked to read and play games was basically a receipe for getting the shit kicked out of me. I did not like violence (I still dont), and preferred to be left alone.

I was diagnoised with ADHD in the 2nd Grade. Got glasses about the same time too. This was back in the 80’s again, so keep in mind that the ONLY treatment for ADHD was Ritalin (a form of Speed!). I took that medication till 11th grade when I got tired of the side effects and stopped.

I was band geek through middle school. Played the Bass Clarinet (thing was as big as I was really). I went to a school (and lived in a neighborhood) that was predominately black and latino. I was legit the only white kid from the only white family within a 10 block radius. The school I went to was also the same, although there were more white kids. So in my case, growing up, I was the minority in a sense.

It was not all bad however. In middle school I got into a “College Readiness” program for minorities (I am still not sure how that one worked out) where I was the only white kid again in a program designed for actual minorities. They took me in, some called me friend, even gave me a “Hood Name” which was C-Dawg. I was highly confused by this because it was not something I understood, but I accepted it. I also got to teach DND to some of the kids when I hit 8th grade (my last year in the program) when we stayed on a college campus for a week pretending to be college students (got to attend classes and everything)

11th Grade was when I FINALLY met other nerdy folks who liked things like Dungeons and Dragons, and Magic the Gathering. We even had a teacher (my Chemistry Honors Teacher, Mr Turner) who loved Magic like we did, and I met kids who helped him start an actual Strategic Games Club at school.

When I hit around 18 years old and left my mothers home to live with my Dad, I started to have anger issues. I never lashed out at people, but I was that angry kid. That one tempermental kid who believed that the world and universe were using him as a punching bag. I had never had a girlfriend at this point in my life (the one time a girl asked me out it was the classic “Ask the Nerd Out and make fun of him” prank in 6th grade), and was convinced that no one would ever love me for who I was.

I met my wife at work at 23 years old. I was still kind of angry at times, but I had been calming down. By this point in my life I had at least made some friends off and on, had a few relationships, nothing special, and so on. I asked my now wife out, we went on one date (dinner at her cousins house) and she told me she wanted to be friends.

I actually got mad at her and refused to talk to her.  Because I am an idiot, just to clarify 😛

She vanished from that company, and a year later came back and asked ME out. We have been married for 11 years this year. Life is funny that way.  I love her more then life itself and would do anything for her.

At 26 I started to finally realize I could be who I wanted to be, and eventually find people who would accept me for that. I got a lot less angry, but was still prone to temper flares. At around 33 I finally decided to try that “Youtube thing” everyone was doing. I joined a community on reddit called Newtubers and started making ABSOLUTELY SHIT VIDEOS OMG. We are talking just…insane rambling nonsense things lol

Before that I had tried game reviews a few times, a lets play channel at one point, wrote book reviews for a while, ect.

Eventually, in August 2016 I destroyed my Youtube Channel out of anger. I was annoyed at it.

I ended up pissing off the friends I had made SO MUCH that they would not leave me alone about restarting fresh.

Terminally Nerdy was born at that point. August 25th, 2016. It started as an experiment with VLogging about the nerdy things I loved.

And I love quite a bit.

I read, voraciously. I once had a friend comment that I have read almost every major fantasy work out there. I love music, mostly rock and instrumental stuff. I still remember how to play Bass Clarinet. I love board games (when I have people to play em with). I have tried almost every digital and physical card game out there. I have played over 150 MMOs. I love gaming and have since I was a kid.

I meant the channel to be about ALL this stuff.

But then…I made a 5 part video series called “Tabletop RPG 101” on my Youtube Channel.

That was it. Everyone I knew at the time starting calling me “RPGhandi” and other silly names, telling me that I should focus on DND. And in truth, tabletop has always been a part of my life once I discovered in in 1994 with the 2nd Ed Forgotten Realms campaign setting. It had been a thing I went back to, creating worlds and stories.

And here we are now. I am mostly a this point a “twitter personality”. Most folks pay attention to me there (and if you are reading this you prolly found it FROM there). And I am ok with that. I have been immersed in the world of tabletop and DND for the past year and change and I love it.

I have made a ton of friends. I have opened a Patron and gotten a modicum of success with that (sidebar if you care!). I have made connections with people who could arguably be called celebrities and at this point many consider me a celebrity myself (which is an odd feeling let me tell you that)

I went from a fat nerdy white kid that no one wanted, to a big beardy goofball that people apparently love. I still dont understand this by the way, my brain can’t comprehend it. But I accept it at this point.

Thank you. Truly. I am tearing up writing this and I shouldnt be because I am at work and might get odd looks. But who CARES if I tear up right? I can cry if I want! SO HA!

You guys are the reason I am able to do this. These past few days have been kinda wild. Hell these past few MONTHS. I wouldn’t have it any other way either.

Stay Nerdy. And again, THANK YOU.

Pathology: The Gunslinger Fighter – Do you feel lucky? Punk?

Welcome to Pathology, the series where I take a look at a specific Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Class and Path, and break down its abilities to hopefully help you understand how to make it work for you.  I am taking a break from my project (I am actually ahead of where I wanted to be right now) to bring you a breakdown of Matthew Mercer’s Gunslinger path for Fighters, which is available for Pay what you Want on DMs Guild.  Did you want to be John Wayne?  Because this is how you become John Wayne.  And yes, this is a homebrew option, but it’s also a fairly unique one.  I do what I want it’s my blog ok! This writeup is based on version 1.3 from the guild.

Now, unlike my Drunken Master breakdown, we really do not need to discuss the basic Fighter options here.  Those options do not have a direct mechanical impact on the Gunslingers abilities beyond the way they would interact with any Fighter, really.  Action Surge, the multiple attacks, Second Wind, ect all work the same regardless of which path you take as a Fighter, really.

One thing we do need to address, obviously, is the use of Firearms in D&D.  Personally, if a player wanted to play a Gunslinger in one of my games I would do my best to make it work.  By default, guns are a rarity if not unique. Thankfully the PDF you can pick up has rules for guns including things like crafting them, costs, special abilities and the like.  I especially like the Misfire mechanic that Mercer came up with and think that the guns overall seem fairly well balanced.

Now, onto the actual mechanics of the Gunslinger!

At level 3, upon taking the path, you gain Firearm Proficiency and Gunsmith.  The first gives you proficiency with Firearms and guns, which lets you gain your proficiency bonus to attacks made using them.  The second is what lets you use Tinker Tools to craft new guns, repair broken ones, and craft ammunition. I like that crafting is a big thing here as much of 5th Edition does not touch the idea of players creating their own equipment.  Both of these features are also borderline necessary because without them the rest of the class really doesn’t work. Personally, if a player wanted to be a Gunslinger from level one, I might consider giving them Firearm Proficiency at level one as well so they could at least use the guns effectively before taking the path.  But that’s a personal choice here for the GM and using firearms prior to level 3 just means you would normally not get any proficiency bonus.

Additionally at level 3 you also gain access to your first two Trick Shots with the ability Adept Marksman.  This is the bread and butter of the class, and gives you quite a bit of customization.  I will discuss the actual Trick Shots in more detail later but this is where you get to pick and choose the sorts of special tricks you gain do, much like a Battlemasters Maneuvers.  You start with 2 Trick Shots at level 3, and will end up with a total of 6 by level 18. You can also switch them at any time you gain a new one. To fuel these abilities you use Grit, which is based on your Wisdom modifier.  I like that this Path makes use of Wisdom, which is often ignored by Fighters (and really it should not be, Fighters are NOT proficient is Wisdom saves people!  Want to take a Fighter out? Hit em with Wisdom based attacks). You can regain all spent Grit after a short or long rest as per usual with such a resource, or when you roll a 20 on a Firearm attack roll, or when you get a killing blow with a firearm on a “fearsome foe” which really is a DMs Discretion.  My personal suggestion is to get at least a +2 bonus in your Wisdom so you start with 2 Grit points.  You will always have at least one, but more is obviously better especially since you cannot gain more unless your Wis modifier goes up.

Starting at level 7 a Gunslinger gains Quickdraw, which will make you really feel like an old western Gunslinger.  This ability gives you your proficiency bonus to Initiative rolls as well as lets you switch from one firearm to another as a single object interaction.  The big part here is switching weapons as a single action.

Rapid Repair is gained at level 10 which lets you take a bonus action to attempt to fix a misfired, but not broken, firearm on your turn.  Let’s talk about Misfire here real quick. The guns presented with the PDF all have fairly standard abilities. Reload speed, how many shots they can fire, things like that.  The unique one is Misfire. When you roll equal to or less then the guns Misfire rating, it jams and cannot be used until you attempt to repair it. Normally this takes your full action but Rapid Repair changes that.  Now if you fail to repair your firearm, you can’t use it till you fix it outside of combat and spend money to do so. However the base DC for a repair is fairly low normally so it’s not a major concern in my opinion. I honestly could see the DC being raised, but its calculation is in line with most other things so I suppose it’s fine.

Now, at level 15 the Gunslinger gains Lightning Reload which allows the Gunslinger the ability to reload as a bonus instead of normal action.  Since many of the more powerful weapons only have one shot per load, this gives you a bit more flexibility to use them.  And finally, at level 18 they gain Vicious Intent which increases all firearm crit ranges to 19-20, and allows the Gunslinger to regain grit on a natural 19 or 20 roll.  They also gain Hemorrhaging Critical which causes targets who have been hit by a crit to take half the damage of the critical attack again at the end of the targets turn.  Both of these effects are absolutely nasty when combined with a Fighters multiple attacks and action surge effects.

So those are all the standard abilities of the Gunslinger, so let’s talk Trick Shots. There are 8 total Trick Shots by default, and you will gain 6 of them by level 18.  This means that only two Trick Shots will be left to the wayside. To be honest, there are no real “clunkers” as far as options go.  Matt did a bang up job with the options and they all feel good. There are a few I want to call out specifically as good choices for your first two, however.

First up, is Deadeye Shot.  This is a very straightforward option where you spend 1 grit point to gain advantage to your shot.  Good all around option that will always be useful. Another great starting one is Winging Shot where you can spend a grit when you deal damage to force the target to make a Str save or be knocked prone.  Good for setting up attacks for your allies. A third good option to start with is Dazing Shot, which deals normal damage and forces the target to make a Con save or suffer disadvantage to all attack rolls till the end of its next turn for one grit point.  Finally, Piercing Shot is just fun.  It increases your guns misfire chance by 1 in exchange for dealing normal damage to your target on hit, and then getting to make an attack roll with disadvantage against every target in a line behind the original.  Only the initial shot can misfire as well, and it costs one grit.  To be honest all the Trick Shots are good, these are just my personal favorites, and if I was building a Gunslinger I would go with Winging and Dazing at the start for more control options.  Damage is already plentiful, and having the ability to force disadvantage or knock things down is really helpful.

One thing I have barely touched on are the actual Firearms added in this PDF.  They are all fairly well balanced and priced. I do like that the most powerful guns can only be crafted, and I have a personal urge to play a Hand Mortar mad Gunslinger using Violent Shot constantly to just do as much AOE as possible.  The other crafted option besides the Hand Mortar is Bad News, which is a massively powerful 2d12 Rifle, and I am pretty sure that one is based off Percy’s guns from Critical Role. But there are a total of 7 options ranging from the simple Palm Pistol all the way up to a Blunderbuss and the aforementioned Bad News and Hand Mortars.

Overall, this is a solid option for Fighters and definitely fits the tone and feel of an old west gunslinger.  The only concern here is of course adding Firearms to your game. Not every DM is going to be willing to do this, and you would want to check with your DM before getting all excited for the path option.  I definitely think it’s worth picking up the PDF (its pay what you want so you can get it for basically nothing if you want) and looking into it. Bringing both firearms in a balanced way as well as granting Fighters a new option is just a solid overall product.

As always, if you are looking for more Path breakdowns, feel free to check out myPathologytag here on my blog for more posts!

As always thanks for reading everyone and Stay Nerdy!  Make sure to follow me on TwitchYoutubeTwitter, and join my Steam Group and Steam Curator pages!  Pledge to my Patreon!  Spread the word on social media & help me get out there so I can bring even more content to the masses.  You do want more content yes?

Writers note: All images but the one of John Wayne link to the articles or artist pages they were located on and belong to their creators.  Click them to find out more about the creators!

The #AprilTTRPGMaker Challenge by @Kiranansi

Hello folks! This April a lovely person named Kiranansi decided to create this “daily question and answer” twitter event to let various Tabletop RPG Creators to get to know each other, and of course so our fans can get to know us better.

However, I hate trying to remember to do these things daily. So instead, I am gonna post the image below, and then just go through and answer all of em in this single blog post. Why? Because I am an adult and I DO WHAT I WANT!

1. My name is Clayton. I write here, on my blog, Terminally Nerdy, and do reviews, discussions, editorials, and all sorts of other nonsense related to tabletop RPGs and really RPGs in general in any medium
2. Central Florida. The Kingdom of the Rat is nearby…
3. I dont really create Tabletop RPGs. I write ABOUT them I suppose?  I mean, I did make a couple of things technically.
4. *points at his website* Its all here. You can see for yourself.
5. I dont work on games yet. Technically I suppose if you count those bonus spell lists I posted it would be 5E? I also do world building but thats generally system neutral. Oh and I do have the Mech RPG I started, and I did make a really insane Tabletop Miniatures Game once out of boredom.
6. I actually really like dice pool systems.
7. My home PC. Thats about it.
8. Idea pops into head, put it down, stare at it and wonder how the hell I came up with it.
9. See above.
10. Video game it would be WoW with my wife. Tabletop, 5E or Savage Worlds
11. Terminally Nerdy! STAY NERDY FOLKS!
12. I have no idea. Twitter I suppose?
13. I guess people like Matt Mercer, my buddy Saevrick, Mr Rogers (no, really), Chris Perkins. They all have styles and tricks I like to use. Also my very first DM Mr M.
14. Honestly I just like helping people. So the more I can h elp the happier I am.
15. A bit of both. I like to talk about my projects but I also keep parts hidden.
16. Not really no.
17. Any? Any is a good one. I dont really get much.
18. Lately its all sorts of Post Apoc stuff as I do some world building on my Alt History Earth stuff
19. Fifth Edition DND Honestly
20. My brain, a keyboard, and hope
21. Until it feels RIGHT
22. Google Docs, notepad, whatever I got handy.
23. Prolly Death by Mage, Matt Mercer, Saevrick, my Discord friends.
24. I have no achievements yet. 0/10 gamerscore over here
25. Being a designer means dreaming big, creating something fun, and trying to HAVE fun for me.
26. BLOGS! STREAMS! PODCASTS! ALL OF THE THINGS.
27. Death by Mage is a good indie one.
28. No idea!
29. *points to the discord channel link in the sidebar*
30. Try to have fun in all the things you do. These are games, and games are about having fun.

So there ya go. 30 questions answered. I dont really consider myself a “designer” but I felt like doing it so here we are.

THanks for reading everyone and remember, STAY NERDY!

Worldbuilding: The Tralida Region

Its time to start actually working out what is in the area that I intend for my players to start in, in my strange new world that I introduced in my post “The Blink“. Now, I am designing this world based on our Earth (after a cataclysm of unknown origin), and this region based on my own home state of Florida. When thinking of how to name this region, I decided that the people living there now would have named it based on signs, and I figured they might see a sign called “Central Florida” but with some of the letters worn off, and just combine the phrases into the new region: Tralida. I am so creative HAHAHAHAHAHaaaaaa….

From here, I had to decide just what had come into being here. Since the Blink transported random parts of the First World to this new land, I could theoretically come up with just about anything. I decided to have one massive city from the First World appear here, so that way I can justify having the variety of Playable races in this region to begin with.

So here are some Areas of interest in the Tralida region, as well as some of the major cities and locales. This helps me visualize the areas and spaces for when I bust out a hex mapper and start mapping this mess.

Dytoa City: Once the sprawling capital in the First World, this massive city houses several thousand people of the various races. It was transported along with many of the outlying farms perfectly intact to the coastline of Tralida. Ruled by a council of elected officials. They handled the Blink fairly well, with minimal loses and have recovered quite well. They frequently send adventurers out into the wilds in search of ruins, salvage, and other colonies in order to try to bring order to the Tralida region.  They took the name Dytoa to show that they have fully embraced their new world, and are working to integrate themselves into it.  They are allies with the Animaforged of Din’ey.

Din’ey: A city of Animaforged, a central trading hub. They welcome all who are willing to work and defend their home into their lands. A few trading roads going up and down Tralida connect here, including one major trail between Dytoa and Din’ey. This is ruled by the 2 Elder Animaforged who dwell here. No one is allowed into their Castle save for other Animaforged, who are programmed to not speak of the Elders to anyone outside. There are also tales of portals to other Animeforged Cities in other places hidden away that the Elders give access to those who need them, for a price.

The Everswamp: The southern area of Tralida is a massive overgrown swamp land ruled by a kingdom of Frog people, who worship beings known only as “The Deep Ones”. These beings supposed live in a massive lake in the center of the swamp called Lake Okobee. The capital of the Frog empire also exists deep in the bowels of this lake. (I will be using the Ribbitan Race as a base line, found here and created by The GodDamn DM to create my own frog folk.  They just wont be fey and be a bit more…… strange.)

The Ocalawood: A massive primeval forest that covers a large portion of the north above both Dytoa and Din’ey this forest is home to many things, some known, and many unknown. There are only 2 safe trails through the forest to the Northern lands, but much of the forest itself is unexplored. Strange beasts lurk in the dark forest, seeking prey. Some criminals from the lands to the south have made their home here, striking out against the fledgling cities below.

Ruins of Larn: Once a massive sprawling city, this area sits between Din’ey and Dytoa City. Its a huge mess of concrete, stone, metal, glass, and more. Strange mutants roam the area outside of the patrolled path between the two cities, and scavengers, criminals, and other things hide within. There is treasure to be found too, oh yes, from precious metals and salvage, to strange artifacts of power. Its been fairly well explored but there are still secrets and things to discover, especially in the Univer Wastes, an area that seems almost alive with a malignant force.

There are many small settlements, towns, and communities dotted across the land as well but much of it is unexplored, untouched, and wild. I also intend to throw in several ruins from the First World as well, or maybe bits that did not transport correctly, causing all sorts of strange things to occur.

This world is still very “new” in a sense, so while there will be plots and things going on behind the scenes (perhaps strange cults worshipping new gods and the like) a good portion of it will focus first on exploration. While I also intended for Humanity to have been wiped out many many years before the Blink due to the the “event” that caused our world to die in the first place, there is no reason that OTHER beings cannot have gained sentience. Perhaps a race of dog people, or even apes, have taken over regions in the time before the Blink? Who knows! There is nothing saying that there wont be horrible Mole people waiting to come up from below and strike at these new “surface dwellers!”

Who is to say there is not a race of Egyptian styled Lizard folk living out in the Pyramids in what was once Egypt?

200 years does not seem like a long time, but if you think in terms of our world, and the advancements we have made in 200 years along (1800 to 2000) its quite astonishing. Add magic to the mix and you can come up with all sorts of crazy things to occur.

I might also see about having my patrons come up with some crazy locations and things as well to add to this region. Florida is quite large, and while I am going to focus the Central Florida area there is plenty of space to add small towns, groups, NPCs, gods and more.

Also anyone got any cool names for this world? I was thinking something like Aeonerth or something. Not sure. What do you guys think? Leave a comment. Also if you have any ideas for monsters, npcs, of regions leave that as well! Perhaps you can have your own home town added to the world here. I sure dont know much about stuff outside of my own haha.

Thanks for reading, and Stay Nerdy!