Sep 012011

Since the dark, awkward days of our early adolescence, we of the Rag-NERD-rok Crew have enjoyed tabletop role-playing games. During that period of nascent nerdliness, when we first scoured the hobby shops of Long Island for polyhedral dice and White Wolf source books, our game master was Chuck Rozakis, and the campaigns he ran were the stuff of legends. Playing alongside us, testing the boundaries of the game system and of Chuck’s resolve at every possible turn, was our friend Paul Faldetta, who took min-maxing and elevated it to a practiced art form. In this week’s episode, we sit down with Chuck and Paul for a discussion about how to create exciting worlds for your players to explore and entertaining games for them to enjoy, as well as how to take those carefully laid plans and burn them to ashes in a searing, white-hot monster hug of abysmal flame.

(Show notes after the break.)

I. Cold Opening – Fantasy Flight Games  presents: “You Lose!” (00:00:00)

Everyone enjoys the challenging cooperative board games published by Fantasy Flight, such as the Battlestar Galactica game, Arkham Horror and that all-time favorite, Mansions of Madness. Now, they’ve got a new game that far outstrips all these others in terms of difficulty and impossible-to-achieve winning conditions!

II. Intro – War of the Rat Men (00:01:03)

This is an urgent distress signal from Ryan, broadcast from the Rag-NERD-rok Defense Bunker. The rat men have invaded Earth, causing incredible delays to this week’s production schedule as the boys in the Rag-NERD-rok Crew do battle against their would-be rodent conquerors. We apologize for the delay, and we’ll do our best to ensure that the hideous rat men are driven from this dimension in a timely fashion.

(As the result of Hurricane Irene knocking out the power and internet access at Ryan’s house, we were unable to complete and upload this week’s episode on time. For those of you who feel personally affronted by this, I’d advise you to direct your ire to the heavens, whether it be toward the inscrutable forces of nature or the caprice of a higher being who dwells therein.)

III. ROLEplaying vs. ROLLplaying, Part I (00:03:10)

The first part of our interview with Chuck and Paul covers world building and game breaking. Chuck introduces a game world that he created using ideas borrowed from Chinese mythology, an AD&D source book, and the White Wolf game “Werewolf: The Apocalypse.” Paul talks about finding the loopholes in game systems to get the most out of character creation, and gives us the rundown on his style of play. We also share a few anecdotes of Paul’s exploits during past games. Finally, we cover The Luck of Paul, our friend’s unholy ability to make his roll, no matter how much the GM wishes it otherwise.

IV. Finneas Q. Hodgepile Interrupts with an Important Announcement / Interlude (00:29:14)

Finn gives us an update on the developing situation with the rat men, and introduces our two commercial segments.

V. “Dead of Winter – Episode 2: Before and After” Ad (00:30:29)

A teaser for “Dead of Winter” Episode 2, which will premiere on September 13, during Episode 8 of Rag-NERD-rok.

VI. Commercial – “Whittlin’ Pete’s All Prospectors Student Loan Fund” (00:31:33)

You’d best give us yer money, ye varmint, er your credit score’s gonna be lower than a jackrabbit in a jigger-flapper!

(Sketch written by Ed Cress and Arley Morton, guest starring Billy Wohlsen.)

VII. ROLEplaying vs. ROLLplaying, Part II (00:33:48)

After the break, we discuss Chuck’s policy of stealing characters and scenarios from various popular sources, as well as how to use your players who love to bend the rules. Chuck gives some advice about what to do if your players just aren’t getting it, and Ed shares an anecdote to that effect. We then delve into some classic Paul stories, such as the time he created his Changeling nemesis, his titanium lab coat and moose hat, and the Paul of Abysmal Flame. Chuck pimps his book about rules lawyering and system imbalances in “Dungeons & Dragons” 3.5, “The Broken Rules Compendium.” Finally, Paul gives some advice about how far you can go when you want to make the system your bee-yatch.

VIIa. The Graaz

CHUCK: The Graaz is a creature similar to a vozhd, a malformed gestalt creature formed when vampires get their hands on a bunch of werewolves and meld them together into one huge abomination.

PAUL: The Graaz is a mokole with the merit Huge Size taken one too many times, a long neck, and terrible claws that deal aggravated damage. Pray for us all!

VIII. Outro (00:58:04)

At last, the bloodthirsty rat men have been sent packing. We’re going to bandage our wounds and seek psychological counseling, but we’ll be back on September 13 for Episode 8: Debate: It’s the Best Apocalypse, or, “I Was A Teenage Anti-Christ.”

Speaking of which, A-Cos is still accepting questions for our debaters, so if you’ve got a question about the apocalypse that you’d like answered, feel free to send it to us at You can also leave us a voicemail by calling (516) 362 – NERD (6373). As usual, if you send us an email or leave us a message, maybe we’ll read / play it during an upcoming episode!

Thank you to all the listeners out there for supporting us during our war with the rat men. Feel free to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and download our podcast through iTunes.

Featured Music / SFX:

Transitions – Lakitu (Kupa) / CC BY-NC-SA 2.5
“Whittlin’ Pete” – Flop Eared Mule (Shake That Little Foot) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Sound FX sample by Halleck of
Outro – Overdrive! Easter Egg Mode (Rushjet1) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0


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Rag-NERD-rok Podcast by Alex Costello, Edward Cress, Erik Dickash, Ryan Mannix and Billy Meyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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