Cover art for podcast RPG From Scratch

RPG From Scratch

84 EpisodesProduced by The Nerdy Show NetworkWebsite

Ever wanted to create your own tabletop RPG? Imagine it: a gleaming, glorious system combining everything you love about gaming and dropping the crap you can’t stand. Embark on a D.I.Y. docu-quest for tabletop roleplaying perfection as we design, test, and rebalance our own RPG From Scratch! We chro… read more

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Design Episode 48

September 7th, 2020


Step 6 Citadel is in the bag! We also tackled another virtue in Zealotry to make sure that when it comes to combat, you're well armed.

Show Notes:



Design Episode 47

July 9th, 2020


We do some doomsday worldbuilding and tackle Scoundrel Step 6!


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Design Episode 46

June 11th, 2020


In this episode, the hombres get further into Step 6 with Fire and Zealotry again! We also take a look at the lost civilization of Mtsen and who they used to be and what is left of them in the region.

Show Notes:

Design Episode 45 :: Ice to Meet You

April 13th, 2020


In our first completely remote episode, we listen to our Patrons' suggestions and just make some effin' monsters! We also spend some time chilling with our least-played path and find ourselves really warming up to it.

Design Episode 44 :: Stoopid Attacks

March 30th, 2020


Step 6 takes flight in Episode 44. We take a hard look at our first alternate step for Zealotry. Are wings broken in RPGs? We're about to find out. Citadel also gets its turn under the microscope, and we discover that …

Design Episode 43 :: Hecka Dooms

March 16th, 2020


In this episode, the mighty Doug joins Liam and Josh as we wade into Step 6, focusing on Death with a sprinkle of theology as we talk about the …

Design Episode 42 :: Flame War

February 17th, 2020


Liam and Josh dig into the value of names in Game Design. We also discuss problems caused by Cookie Cutter Builds in RPG systems and try to build our own optimized 2 and 3-man parties to see if we always come to the …

Design Episode 41 :: GM Quest'ions

February 4th, 2020


Liam, Josh, and Maxx throw down on some of the most common GM'ing questions. How do you do loot? Skill checks? What about huge differences in power between player characters? Most importantly, how do you make a good …

Design Episode 40 :: Jazz Hands

January 20th, 2020


Liam and Josh review what benefits and limitations that going barehanded as a mage means in our system, as well as setting a roadmap for all of our Zealots in the future. We also end up creating a few items that will …

Design Episode 39 :: Volcano Girls

January 6th, 2020


Maxx, Liam, and Josh talk about where the Paths are headed now that we're at the halfway point of their development. Should they have followers? New …

Design Episode 38 :: Marked for Death

December 23rd, 2019


Stealth. What is it? Where is it? Oh, you must have succeeded your check. Also, what kind of technology is normal for our world, and what does that …

Review :: Strongholds & Followers

December 18th, 2019


Liam and Josh review the much-anticipated and hyped D&D 5E supplement "Strongholds & Followers" by Matthew Colville and MCDM Productions.

Show …

Design Episode 37 :: The Triple Threat

December 9th, 2019


Liam and Josh dig deep into intimidation, diplomacy and bluff to figure out exactly how all of you are going to swindle NPCs out of everything they own and love. We also throw some real world diseases into the mix with …

Design Episode 36 :: Prying Open My Mind's Eye

November 25th, 2019


In this quick one, Liam and Josh add some exoticism to our world by naming regions and their respective languages. We also talk about the validity of Initiative and Battle Order and how they pertain to our game, and …

Leyliners 02 :: Shellswine

November 18th, 2019


In this episode, the gang meets their handler and argues back and forth about which mission makes the most sense for them. Uncertain, they decide to hit the town to celebrate landing a 3-job deal before coming to a …

Design Episode 35 :: Who's the Good Guy?

November 11th, 2019


Our setting lacks obvious protagonists, so we create a few. Are you more at home in a continent-spanning adventurer's guild? How about an ancient …

Leyliners 01 :: Gettin' Docks'd

November 4th, 2019


A new direction AND a continuation of our Echoes of the Starcrypt campaign in one!? You'd better believe it! Join the Pig, the Gator, and the Weasel as they try to make it as city boys in the tough bay town of …

Design Episode 34 :: Ol' Stumpy

October 28th, 2019


The gang wraps up Step 5 by polishing off Death, Command, Fire, and Champion! We also create a new undersea villain to plague all of your oceanic …

Gloomtown 07 :: Battlefield Promotions

October 21st, 2019


The story of Snarfs and Marshals goes out in a blaze of glory. Who brought the ships to the harbor? Where is the Sub-Governor? DOES Whitsnarf have a fire marshal? All is answered in the stunning conclusion of Gloomtown!

Design Episode 33 :: Planting the zealot-tree

October 14th, 2019


Josh and Maxx talk about what can be done to help first-time GMs deal with planning combat encounters, generic enemies, and we round out the edges of Step 5 Zealotry, Ice, and Marksman!

Show Notes:

Gloomtown 06 :: Four Cutthroats on Heirloom Boats

October 7th, 2019


The gang gets right up in the meat of the issue and all is revealed as every possible bit of excrement strikes the turbines. They deal with the supposed mutiny of their own fire Marshall and the very real mutiny of the …

Design Ep. 32 :: The 5 Steps of the Magical Method

September 30th, 2019


In this episode, we refine what's at the core of Marksmam before diving DEEP into Step 5. We tackle Citdadel, Marksman, and then show our clear favoritism for Radiance and support classes in general.

Show Notes:

Gloomtown 05 :: There-House

September 23rd, 2019


The gang discovers a major conspiracy and gets frickin' ROWDY in the lakeborne town of Catchsnarf and try not to burn the whole place down in the …

Design Episode 31 :: His Eye is on the Arrow

September 16th, 2019


Liam and Josh fix Professions in our Artifacts game and completely destroy Marksman, but worry not, adventurers. We can rebuild him. We can make him better. Stronger. Faster.


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Gloomtown 04 :: Fire Marshal Arts

September 9th, 2019


Speaking with the Emperor's authority, the gang plows through every level of false bureaucrat determined to impede their progress towards the center of the sickness plaguing the Snarftowns, discovering innovations …

Design Episode 30 :: Secret Level

September 2nd, 2019


We discuss new ways to level up and introduce a host of new artifacts into the world of our game. Need a really bad flashlight? How about a fanny pack? We've got you covered!

Show notes:

Gloomtown 03 :: Convicted Melons

August 26th, 2019


The Marshalls are dealt a devastating blow when Bentley receives troubling news from the capital. Their morale cannot be quenched, however, as they find plot seeds leading inexorably towards Fort Oderax.

Show Notes:

Design Episode 29 :: Rails in the Sand

August 19th, 2019


Doug and Josh discuss campaign design differences between on-rails and sandbox campaigns as well as the finer points of designing effective NPCs, getting back to the plot, and the prevalence of magic in our game.

Show …

Gloomtown 02 :: Catching Lies with Honey

August 12th, 2019


The Marshals split the party and begin their investigation into the amber-hued plague known as "gloomsmite" in earnest. They find that things are far …

Design Episode 28 :: Archer-REEEE

August 5th, 2019


We discuss the merits of Magic: The Gathering, how to keep your players from saying "okay, we do that," and how to describe things in a way that's better for your players. We also whip out the nerf bat and argue about …

Gloomtown 01 :: A River Runs Through Whit

July 29th, 2019


We meet our new rag-tag group of Akaenoshian Marshalls who've been sold up the river to deal with a small town's Temperance movement and the multiple …

Design Episode 27 :: OMGMPC

July 22nd, 2019


Thinking about making a GM PC? Think hard. We talk about our experiences and possible pitfalls regarding this controversial NPC type. Also, we make more monsters, artifacts, and rituals alongside a pair of wacky new …

Gloomtown :: Session Zero

July 15th, 2019


We plan our THIRD CAMPAIGN - this time, with Maxx at the helm. Doug, Liam, Josh, and our great friend Ouzts set about the evergreen task of creating …

Design Episode 26 :: We're off to See the Lizard

July 8th, 2019


The gang shares their first GMing experiences, how nervous we were, and our biggest mistakes. We also dig into one of the biggest and oldest cultures …

Agnes' Ashes 8 :: Ex Post Artifacto

July 1st, 2019


Like a conscientious part-time lover, we wrap it up in this episode. The gang finishes with The Eighth Hand, discusses some new business ideas and finds out the dubious fate of Post, the out... post. Say thank you and …

Book Review :: The Ultimate RPG Character Backstory Guide

June 27th, 2019


We take our first foray into product reviews with one dedicated to helping you make better characters and share our thoughts on its usefulness both …

Design Episode 25 :: Face-Off

June 24th, 2019


Should you always avoid splitting the party, or is that an eventuality that you've just gotta accept? On the world building front, we name the …

Agnes' Ashes 7 :: Flowers for Adonis

June 17th, 2019


The Wing Mob mops up the mess they made of the monster and his minions, making a mad march out of the makeshift mortuary, meticulously mediating …

Design Episode 24 :: Mandatory Vacations

June 10th, 2019


In this design episode, we get deep in the juice of downtime. How much should characters have? Do adventures move too quickly? Is tracking time …

Agnes' Ashes 6 :: All Mixed Up

June 3rd, 2019


The Wing Mob delves further into the underground structure, leaving safety and their consciences behind as their focus shifts to victory and profit at all costs. Grandon squares up as the true mastermind of the Pawa's …

Design Episode 23 :: Taming of the Elephant Shrew

May 27th, 2019


We take another deep-dive into the structure of our world, solidifying the corners of our calendar and its relation to celestial events and mythos. …

Agnes' Ashes 5 :: Arms Races

May 20th, 2019


The Wing Mob, both sound of body and full of belly, set off to confront the Flesh Shaper in his very own Labattoir and find that there is far more to …

Design Episode 22 :: Sadistical Distribution

May 13th, 2019


The crew dishes out GMing advice on how to deal with problem players without ruining your game and how to manage complex combat encounters without losing your mind. We also delve deep into chance-to-hit as a concept and …

Agnes' Ashes 4 :: Primordial Soup

May 6th, 2019


The Wing Mob are deep in the Pawa keep and trading blows with a houndmaster, his spiky juggernauts, and his chimeric canines. Soaked in blood and …

Design Episode 21 :: Coat of Harms

April 29th, 2019


We introduce the concept of Heraldy and what it means for Citadel players wanting to be known throughout the world of Urd. Encumbrance is discussed, and Crafting gets refined for those of us who prefer to make our own …

Agnes' Ashes 3 :: Ra Ra, Fight the Pawa!

April 22nd, 2019


In the third part of Angela's Ashes, The Wing Mob dives headlong into the woods with Champ the 'dillo in tow, searching for Ned and the reason for the militarization of the Pawa. What they find both amazes and disgusts …

Design Episode 20 :: Deviling Up

April 15th, 2019


We build a set of level 10 characters to see how much bookkeeping is involved with everything we have already made and run a mock boss battle to see …

Agnes' Ashes 2 :: Dillo Talk

April 8th, 2019


Come one, come all! See The Wing Mob in action! Chookie shows off her cooking skills, Ned has a couple of surprises for us, we learn about the majestic wildlife of Urd, and our campaign leaps into an action-packed fray!

Design Episode 19 :: Standard Operating Procedure

April 1st, 2019


Before wading chest-deep back into Step 4, we ruminate about what our new campaign says about our mechanics, and we introduce static attribute defenses. Join us as we tackle Citadel, Champion, Scoundrel, Zealotry, and …

Agnes' Ashes 1 :: Quad Fisting It

March 25th, 2019


Meet The Wing Mob, a small mercenary band on their way to deliver their boss' remains to her native sea. Passing through the Countryside of Galthreach, things are tense. There's a civil war on and the busiest merchant …

Design Episode 18 :: The Waltz to Step 4

March 18th, 2019


Riding the high of our upcoming Actual Play campaign, we talk about potential balance issues and settle on terminology for our Dice Tier system …

Agnes' Ashes :: Session Zero

March 11th, 2019


It's time for a new campaign and a new actual play podcast!

Liam takes the helm in GMing and Josh and Doug finally get the chance to play the game they've been building these last few months. Also joining the players as …

Design Episode 17 :: Soul Magic

March 4th, 2019


Following the Grand Finale of our first actual play campaign, we further mill around the subject of damage scaling and debate the rules and …

Echoes of the Starcrypt :: Part 14

February 25th, 2019


It is the END! The gang confronts Kalavon AND Forsha and reveal the true nature of this incomprehensible dungeon in a finale that will shake the foundations of Urd. As we say goodbye to the characters we know and love, …

Design Episode 16 :: Neverending Compromises

February 18th, 2019


We go over some mild party drama and talk about how to resolve it, but the real meat of this episode is where we dive off the cliff into the …

Echoes of the Starcrypt :: Part 13

February 11th, 2019


Which horrors are revealed and which are vanquished by the return of light to this pit of secrets? The gang discovers the source of the noise deep in …

Design Episode 15 :: Session Zeroes to Heroes

February 4th, 2019


We delve into our hopes and dreams when preparing to sit down with a new gaming group. Also, What is magic? Is it the power that underlies all reality, like The Force? Is it an alien essence being unknowingly mined by …

Echoes of the Starcrypt :: Part 12

January 28th, 2019


The mole is vanquished, and the gang has drawn the ire of a caretaker of this forsaken tomb. Dare you learn the secrets it keeps? Our heroes gain an …

Design Episode 14 :: Politics and Religion

January 21st, 2019


We commit the ultimate party faux pas and delve deep into the cultural and political strife of our world, coming up with 3 distinct religions and …

Echoes of the Starcrypt - Part 11

January 14th, 2019


The gang scrambles to face down the giant mole! Who sent it? Is it the creature that has terrorized Clan Nargabar and The Way Forward? Listen in as …

Design Episode 13 :: Don't Be a Martyr

January 7th, 2019


Want to go Core Radiance but feellt underwhelmed at unfairly targeted by Martyr? You're in luck! Along with rounding out some corners, we discuss some pie-in-the-sky Path ideas to see if anything from them is worth …

Echoes of the Starcrypt :: Part 10

December 31st, 2018


It turns out our party is by no means alone within the bowels of this alien ruin... and neither is whatever is chasing them! Listen in as we make a series of extremely questionable moral decisions while ignoring any and …

Design Episode 12 :: Under One Condition

December 24th, 2018


We come up with a new game name, patch up some small holes, do away with ammunition tracking, add a HoT spell, and dig deep into the meat of what …

Echoes of the Starcrypt :: Part 9

December 17th, 2018


Your favorite crew of miscreants begins their very first dungeon crawl: forsaking fresh air and sunlight for the horrifying secrets beneath the earth. Listen in as they brave the mysteries of the ancients and discover …

Design Episode 11 :: The Rest of Your Life

December 10th, 2018


We ratchet up the difficulty by deciding what happens when characters fall to 0 HP (and fail to get a full night's rest). We also come up with an …

Echoes of the Starcrypt :: Part 8

December 3rd, 2018


In Part 8 of our Actual Play campaign, the crew finds a glut of clues and tries to find a way to care for the four lost children, while engaging in …

Design Episode 10 :: Break a Leg!

November 26th, 2018


We recently took Scratch Dice to AVL Scarefest in North Carolina and in this episode we recap our experience running our game for strangers and share …

Echoes of the Starcrypt :: Part 7

November 19th, 2018


In Part 7 of our Actual-Play campaign, Two new characters join our crew of misfit diggers, a Seagull Krex and a Betta Fish Savothian, and after some …

Design Episode 9 :: An Exercise in Utility

November 12th, 2018


In this episode, we dig DEEP into Step 3 and give each Path a distinct utility ability for use both in and out of combat. We think you'll all really dig the direction we are taking Decay. Additionally, we create a set …

Echoes of the Starcrypt :: Part 6

November 5th, 2018


In this episode, we bid farewell to both Von Van DeVin and his player, Katie. In searching from missing children with Aster, they are beset upon by a tribe of savages unlike anything they have ever seen, except that …

Design Episode 8 :: Chaos Dice

October 29th, 2018


We take a hard look at the Paths of Scoundrel and Command in this episode, redesigning their respective roles within the party. We also find an …

Echoes of the Starcrypt - Part 5

October 22nd, 2018


In this episode, we go full RP-crazy, delving deep into the overwhelming variety of current crises looming over our "heroes." After last episode, …

Design Episode 7 :: Doing the Two-Step

October 15th, 2018


In this design episode, we two-step Path-by-Path and add Step 2. We're just GIVING abilities away. Look under your seat, listener! Is that a Daily? …

Echoes of the Starcrypt - Part 4

October 8th, 2018


The adventurers have found themselves buried among the artifacts that they were looking for as war rages overhead between their employees and the barbaric clan Nargabar. They still have the injured Kydwe and ornery …

Design Episode 6 :: What's in a Name?

October 1st, 2018


We get BACK into Worldbuilding in this one. After tying up some mechanical loose ends discovered in the playtests so far, the Homebrew Hombres get …

Echoes of the Starcrypt - Part 3

September 24th, 2018


In the 3rd chapter of our actual play, Echoes of the Starcrypt, an ominous question lingers: Do they truly sit atop an ancient Guf ruin?

The crew meet …

Design Episode 5 :: Slot Shaming

September 17th, 2018


We're breaking our world apart to reassemble it as we see fit - revealing a host of unexpected geographical prejudices. What creatures are our world's dragons or tarrasques? Are they moose? We also discuss the scaling …

Echoes of the Starcrypt - Part 2

September 10th, 2018


Our ill-fated adventurers run afoul of a local tribe, revealing a world of ancient rivalries, political intrigue, and an ongoing crisis. Also, …

Design Episode 4 :: That Zealot of Nuts!

September 3rd, 2018


Join us for a massive exploration of what's come so far and where we're headed. We recap our thoughts on the playtest, make some changes to Path of Radiance, and give Path of Zealotry the unique touch it deserves. Also, …

Echoes of the Starcrypt - Part 1

August 27th, 2018


In our very first playtest, we meet the four adventurers who are setting out on a peculiar archeological dig with dire portents. Meet their …

Design Episode 3 :: They Took the Moon!

August 20th, 2018


We discuss the currency system of our world. Is it based on credit? Bank notes? A natural resource?

What is our Moon situation? Do we still have one?

Design Episode 2 :: A Priest, a Grifter, and a Crocodile walk into a bar...

August 13th, 2018


In this episode, we meet the people who will be playing our first campaign and get to work on what kind of story we want to tell and what kind of characters will be working together to experience the mysterious world of …

Design Episode 1 :: Our Game Gets a Name

August 6th, 2018


In our first episode, the Homebrew Hombres introduce the D&D-style game that they're trying to build - as well as share their gripes about the previous systems they've played, and how theirs will be different while …

Roll With RPG From Scratch!

August 5th, 2018


Ever wanted to create your own tabletop RPG? Imagine it: a gleaming, glorious system combining everything you love about gaming and dropping the crap you can’t stand. Join us on a D.I.Y. docu-quest for tabletop …

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