Nerp Frequently Asked Questions
version 1.0, 25 May 1995

Did you say "Nerf"?

No, I said "nerp". NERF® is a registered trademark of Nerf, a wholly owned subsidiary of whatever company it is that makes NERF® balls.

So what's a nerp?

A nerp is one of those little fuzzy guys with antennae and googly eyeballs. In their most common form, they also have adhesive feet. Nerps are naturally demonstrative, and can often be found carrying little banners with company logos or short messages.

Really? I thought those were called feeps, or critters.

Well, they are critters. Interestingly enough, they are also feeps, but the feep family extends to all small, weird, furry creatures, such as feebos.

Is that what the manufacturers call them?

I seriously doubt it. They probably call them something demeaning like Poofies or something generic like Fuzzies. Well, they're nerps.

So how did the name "nerp" come about?

In elementary school, we used to get nerps or other toys sometimes with our lunches. These little guys would then be found in strange places around the classroom for the rest of the year. One day we got a handout called "A Day in the Life of a Nerp", about which the less said the better -- it was one of those following-pointless-instructions assignments. Some time later, Amy Fera was remarking on a shoebox diorama containing a couple of nerps and referred to them by that name, which stuck in my mind if no one else's. Amy moved away a year later and is unaware of her place in linguistic history. So, in case she ever does a web-search on her name: Amy Fera Amy Fera Amy Fera Amy Amy Fera Fera Fera.

Do they only come in that little size?

Mostly. However, I have the good fortune to own a nerp nine inches in diameter. His name is Nerp!, with an exclamation point. He was sold to me by a man whose mother supposedly sewed him by hand. This was at Noreascon 3, the 1989 world science fiction convention, held in Boston. The nerps, which came in red and blue, were being sold as fund raisers for the Boston Space Society or similar organization.

Since then, I have accumulated a great many nerps, but have never seen another of this size. This and the fact that I found Nerp! at a huge gathering of science fiction fandom, led me to believe that nerps are in fact endearingly-camouflaged alien data-gathering biodevices of incredible sophistication. The smaller ones, I theorize, are the reification of a racial memory of these aliens' previous visits.

If anyone out there has one of those large red or blue nerps, I am willing to pay you any reasonable price for it. Nerp! is lonely. Please contact me at

I seem to recall seeing something about nerps before, in a Shadowrun® book. It didn't say what exactly nerps were. Does this have something to do with that?

Being a Shadowrun® player, I wondered about that myself! It turns out that when FASA talks about nerps, it means NERPS, Net Enhancements for Role Playing Shadowrun. I haven't looked into this too closely, but apparently it's an effort by FASA to use the good ideas that Shadowrun players have, by collecting them on the Net and making them available the same way. This is a great idea, especially for a futuristic cyberpunk game that has to do with the Matrix and cyberspace and all that, and I applaud FASA.

Oh, that explains a lot of the hits I get when I web-search for "nerp". But what's all this government environmental agency stuff?

Your guess is as good as mine. I've never bothered to actually follow those links. I believe it's finding "nerpackad" or "nerplot", but I don't know what those are.

What sound does a nerp make?


How do nerfs eat?

It's nerp, dammit.

How do nerps eat?

They don't have to. Their antennae receive microwave energy in a broadcast-power scheme. If I had another nerp, I could triangulate to find the exact source of the transmissions.

Any more questions? Send them to the maintainer of this FAQ, Steve Matuszek, at