Posted on

New DM Handbook: Character Backstory

New DM HandbookThere are a lot of people who either don’t feel creative enough to make up a character backstory, or who feel like they’re going to do it wrong. There’s no real way of doing it wrong, as long as you can paint a vivid enough picture of your character for yourself (although I’m sure a lot of DMs would prefer to have something concise, if you’re going to share it with them). Still, I know some people feel lost without some help, so I’m going to share a tool I created for my players that’ll help simplify the process. Continue reading New DM Handbook: Character Backstory

Joshua is bad about talking about himself, but won't shut up about anything else. A nerd since birth, he's experienced a lot of the culture. A gamer by nature, a writer, an actor, a film lover, an English major, and a recent discoverer of Dungeons and Dragons. Currently, he lives in Oregon, where his primary focus is to write novels, hopefully get a comic book series published, and maybe try his hand at making a very entry-level tabletop RPG game. He's always had idiotically lofty goals.
Posted on

Multi-Class Character Builds in Dungeons & Dragons 5e The Sorcerer


Hello fellow Nerdarchests, Art here. I’m back with the next installment of my series Multi-Class Character Builds in Dungeons & Dragons 5e.

As usual I’d like to take a moment to talk about the class in general. With the Sorcerer my personally feelings are mixed of sort. On one hand you basically have a Wizard and on the other hand you have a variation of the Wizard. But, after a closer look and a rows through the spell lists I’ve come to find Sorcerers to be very diverse as a class. Able to handle things in a multitude of ways due to their Sorcery Point ability as well as any abilities from their Blood Lines. Continue reading Multi-Class Character Builds in Dungeons & Dragons 5e The Sorcerer

I'm a nerd from the days of OLD! Nuff Said!
Posted on

Custom background – Dragon Familiar – Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition

Dungeons and DragonsNerdarchist Ted here and today I take my first foray into making  a background for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition.  We did a video on this possibility of a person being a familiar for a dragon, look for that release on Nerdarchy youtube channel soon.  Wizards throughout the editions of Dungeons and Dragons have allowed for bigger and unique options outside of the normal animals.

So if people being small beings of magic in comparison to the mighty being of a Dragon, then why wouldn’t Dragons be able to have a familiar and why not let them be a humanoid and then why not a PC.

Custom background for Dungeons and Dragons

So the down sides of doing this is having an NPC of a Dragon that is powerful enough to have a player as a magical minion.  So the player could attempt to persuade the dragon to use or borrow magical items from its lair or use its place as a threat or bargaining chip.  So from this it will take an experienced DM or 5th editiona not super serious game as to allow something like this.

On the plus side however having a dragon as a normal NPC you get a powerful character who can   encourage the players to work the quests you have planned.  You have to make sure what you offer is balanced so you are not being too heavy handed.

But this play style offers up a resource of information and power.  If you have given out too much treasure the Dragon can demand that the Dragon Familiar hand it over or if you need to tip the balance in their favor you can reward them with items from the dragons horde.

The players, as a Dragon Familiar,  will have a safe place they can go, just like a town and it offers unique role play opportunities as the Dragon could have other monsters as minions that would be friendly towards the party. So lots of opportunity for fun and role playing.

Dragon Familiar in 5th edition

Dragon familiarYou are the magically summoned minion of a Dragon (or other greatly magical being).  You generally carry some form of marker in the land where the dragon holds power and if the Dragon is on good terms with the locals you will be treated well.  You have spent time being a minion and friend or servant of your master.

Skill Proficiencies: Persuasion or insight, one knowledge of choice(arcana, nature, religion or history)

Tool proficiencies: None

Languages: Draconic, one language of your choice

Equipment: A marker of your station(it could be a coin, sash or any object able to show what you are and hidden at times you need to be discreet) A set of travelers clothes, A set of fine clothes, an empty book, and a belt pouch containing 15 gp.

Dragons will

As a familiar the DM can have the dragon take control of your character and view through your eyes.  Doing so put you, the player,  out of the action so choose this background carefully as only death can remove you from the service to your dragon.

Feature: Beloved Minion

As a servant of a powerful being you will be treated well by some and set upon by others.  If you remain in good favor with your master you may call on them for a favor in your quest.  It is up to the DM what help is offered, but it could be information, an item or even extra help in the way of minions.

Personality traits (roll d8)

  • 1-As my master is a being of great power so am I!
  • 2-I will uncover any secret that I or my master wishes
  • 3 -I and my answers will be as mysterious as my master
  • 4 – I am powerful, like my master, may the world tremble before me.
  • 5 – I am as patient as can be.
  • 6 – Magic is might and I will know it all.
  • 7 – The elements are mine to command
  • 8 – ROAR!!!!!!!!!!!

Ideal (roll d6)

  • 1 – (good) Let me use my power to make the world a better place.
  • 2 – (evil) The strong rule and the weak are ruled.
  • 3 – (lawful) Let those who break their word be punished.
  • 4 – (chaotic)I have power the power and presence do do as I wish.
  • 5 – (neutral) The world is balanced and I with it.
  • 6 – I seek power and wealth

Bond (roll d6)

  • 1 – I will do as my master commands.
  • 2 – I am given an item that I must keep out of my enemies hands.
  • 3 – I will uncover truth or knowledge to share with my master
  • 4 – I am given a dire mission I must complete.
  • 5 – I will perform my tasks with haste to please my master.
  • 6 – I serve so that others do not.

Flaw (roll d6)

  • 1 – My tasks blind me to other threats.
  • 2 – My quest for power exists above all.
  • 3 – My lust for gold is obvious in my actions.
  • 4 – I have a shameful secret about my past.
  • 5 – My confidence in my master gives the the ability to show no fear.
  • 6 – I will accept no slight on my vanity.

Thank you for reading.  I do hope you like my Dragon Familiar custom background for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition.  If you have any suggestions for improvement or ones you would like to see me do feel free to place them in the comments below.

Until Next Time, Stay Nerdy!


The nerd is strong in this one. I received my bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in Radio/TV/Film. I have been a table op role player for about 20 years 17 of which with the current group. I have played several itterations of D&D, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd editions, Star wars RPG, Shadowrun and World of Darkness. I am an avid fan of books and follow a few authors reading all they write. Favorite author is Jim Butcher I have been an on/off larper for around 15 years even doing a stretch of running my own for a while. I have played a number of Miniature games including Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Heroscape, Mage Knight, Dreamblade and D&D Miniatures. I have practiced with the art of the German long sword with an ARMA group for over 7 years studying the German long sword, sword and buckler, dagger, axe and polearm. By no strecth of the imagination am I an expert but good enough to last longer than the average person if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens. I am an avid fan of board games and dice games with my current favorite being Quarrios.
Posted on

Entrusted part 2: A New Custom Background for Magic Users and Warriors for D&D 5e

Yesterday I discussed the power levels of some of the backgrounds with respect to each other and the Entrusted.

Particularly as it pertains to balancing this new custom background for D&D 5e.

To warm up for this article I spoke with Nerdarchist Dave and he reminded me of a key point about backgrounds.

Every character has the potential to be any background and they are useful no matter the class.

“So when making your own custom backgrounds for D&D 5e remember to keep the features useful to any class that takes the background.” (paraphrased) Continue reading Entrusted part 2: A New Custom Background for Magic Users and Warriors for D&D 5e

I would say my manner, skill sets, and subject knowledge are incongruous but they all seem to find a home under the umbrella term of nerd. I have a passion for studying science, religion, art, games, crafting, wine/beer-crafting, sustainable living, and green chemistry. I really enjoy gaming with friends and writing about my experiences as a nerd.