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Geek and Sundry GM Tips with Satine Phoenix…and Nerdarchy!

GM Tips Geek and Sundry Satine Phoenix

Thanks to so many awesome Nerdarchy fans and supporters, Nerdarchists Dave and Ted were able to make it out to Los Angeles earlier this year to appear on GM Tips with Satine Phoenix. The Geek and Sundry program features different Game Masters each week tackling topics and themes to help the tabletop roleplaying game community. Satine is a tireless advocate for the hobby and has become a great friend to Nerdarchy, and everyone here was incredibly stoked when she made the invitation to appear on her show.

Nerdarchy on GM Tips

Off-the-Cuff Home Brew Games is the focus of Nerdarchy’s GM Tips episode. Fans of our You Tube channel and website are intimately familiar with the improvisational and personal creation approach to roleplaying games, particularly fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons in the spotlight of a lot of our content. In live stream games like the Scarlet Sisterhood of Steel and Sorcery and recorded game plays like the twin campaigns run by Nerdarchists Dave and Ted, Nerdarchy fans can discover the Gryphongaffe setting as it grows and develops right alongside the players – and the Dungeon Masters!

NerdarchyOn GM Tips, the guys discuss their philosophy on creating memorable adventures and experiences for players without a need for copious notes, crafted encounters or preplanned scenarios, all within unique campaign settings. It’s worth noting that Nerdarchy by no means discounts any other methods of running or playing D&D or any roleplaying game. Whether your gaming group runs published adventures like Tomb of Annihilation or Out of the Abyss, adventures within a setting of your own creation guided by the GM’s notes and XP-budgeted encounters, or any other method, as long as everyone at the table has fun you’re doing it right!

In the episode, the guys share their insights on several techniques, methods, tips and tricks for GMs to run immersive, player-driven stories that evoke the spirit of collaboration that makes D&D and other RPGs such a fun and unique experience. Definitely check out the GM Tips video to hear everything the guys have to say. Here’s a quick rundown of some points that emerge:

  • Appeal of homebrew settings compared to published campaign settings
  • How to run adventures with little or no preparation or written material
  • Importance of listening to players and letting them drive stories forward, aid in creation and world build
  • Gaming as an extension of friendship
  • Rolling with changes in the direction of a story
  • Taking notes during play
  • Fostering drama and group dynamics
  • Arranging a buddy system at the gaming table
  • Favorite gaming moments
  • It’s still a game – have fun!

Nerdarchy would like to thank Geek and Sundry for the incredible opportunity to visit the LA studio and appear on GM Tips with Satine Phoenix. It was an unforgettable experience! Nerdarchists Dave and Ted had an awesome time meeting everyone there, making new friends and new relationships as well as the chance to meetup with Nerdarchy fans and play some D&D. We love all our amazing fans and we’re so grateful for the Nerdarchy community as we continue to grow and share our love for gaming with people all over the world.

Stay nerdy!


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Fantasy Weapons for d&d 5e Races | d&d 5e Homebrew

Fantasy Weapons and Equipment for d&d 5e races

So over the years, I have written various bits of lore that pertain to the d&d 5e races as well as several campaigns.

fantasy weapons d&d 5e races elves d&d 5e homebrew
mithrodin sword by rstovall CC -BY-ND 3.0 License.

That being said, the part that I see missing from Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition is the specific equipment that each race has at its disposal.

To this end, I did a bit of thinking and propose the following items and racial trait for your campaign. Now one could ask why one would even need or want more choices when choosing a weapon for your character.

The reason is that it adds a depth and flavor to the world, enhances roleplay, and adds mechanics to back the craftsmanship that is spoken of so often in lore.

From fine Elven blades to sturdy Dwarven axes and brutal Orcish weaponry these weapons are famous and iconic when one thinks of these d&d 5th edition races. Continue reading Fantasy Weapons for d&d 5e Races | d&d 5e Homebrew

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Swordmage Homebrew Review


So lately I have been taking a look at homebrews and trying to, to quote Morpheus, “free your mind.” Well I have found some good ones, and some bad ones.

This week, I will be covering a decently done homebrew of the fourth edition Dungeons & Dragons swordmage that I can honestly say is very close to ready for actual use.

There are a few changes that I would make, and I will note them here. Though you are more than welcome to not use my suggestions or not use the character at all.

The link to this homebrew by Glorac can be found here. Continue reading Swordmage Homebrew Review

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D&D Homebrew: What I’ve Learned

D&D homebrew
Homebrew content for D&D can help make the world of your game unique and memorable. Just be careful when designing.

Last week I did a review on a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons homebrew I particularly liked. Namely the Dark Arts Player’s Companion. This week has been an interesting one. I have gotten rave reviews, decently high traffic, and some not so nice rants too. I have learned a few things that people like and things they don’t like. The most important thing, I have learned what people like to see. Here is what I have learned, and I hope it helps you in your own homebrew. Continue reading D&D Homebrew: What I’ve Learned

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D&D Spelljammer Warlock: Stars are Right

D&D Spelljammer warlock
The Owl looking appropriately star warlock-y. [Art by Jesse Ochse from ArtStation]
In a previous installment on Spelljammer content for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, the warlock peered into oblivion and came back with some nifty new options courtesy of Deep Magic: Void Magic from Kobold Press. But can darkness exist without light? (Actually, yes – in physics terms darkness is an absence of radiation.) But where’s the fun in that? New options for a D&D game is the juice!

There is a balance to the encroaching Void in my home campaign of D&D taking place in a Spelljammer-esque setting. A warlock can strike a bargain with a star drake in the same fashion as with a void dragon. The Illumination Pact warlock acts as a counterpoint to the Void Pact. In both situations, excellent material from Kobold Press does the heavy lifting. For the Illumination warlock, Deep Magic: Illumination Magic is the source material.

Star drakes and void dragons both appear in the Tome of Beasts. Both of these amazing creatures fired my imagination on all cylinders when I began conceptualizing the Spelljammer elements introduced to a traditional D&D campaign early on. I won’t reveal too much about the specifics here, since my players read these articles. But as more is revealed to them through our gameplay sessions those details will be shared.

This material is an evolving work in progress stemming from my home game. Although it’s inspired by the Spelljammer setting, it can be adapted for any D&D campaign. Continue reading D&D Spelljammer Warlock: Stars are Right

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D&D Fluff and Mechanics Make the RPG Go ‘Round

D&D fluff and mechanicsDebates swirl around the various forums and subreddits in the Dungeons & Dragons community; they’re chief among the interactions we have with each other. These debates often vary in their complexity, but a lot of the disagreement with how to even proceed with the debate itself is based on a misunderstanding some have about what the debate is even about. Is this a ‘flavour’ issue or a ‘rules’ issue? What’s the difference? Does it matter?

In this article, we’ll be delving into what ‘mechanics’ are, what ‘fluff’ is and how changing either can change your D&D game, for good or ill. The hope is that after reading, you should feel a bit more confident in your ability to discuss things, possibly even change things, in your games. Continue reading D&D Fluff and Mechanics Make the RPG Go ‘Round

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Review: Dark Arts Player’s Companion

D&D Dark Arts Player's CompanionNormally I don’t like third party content, especially for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, but this week I found something not only amazingly well made, but well balanced for the most part.

Specifically I found the Dark Arts Player’s Companion presented by Jonoman3000. This product for D&D, found here on reddit, is something that hits a special place in my heart.

Specifically I have always loved the likes of Blade, Spawn, and Ghost Rider who meet the darkness head on with its own weapons in hand. So, if thee be not afraid, come and join me in the dark side with the Dark Arts Player’s Companion. Continue reading Review: Dark Arts Player’s Companion

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Nerdarchy Arcana: D&D Rogue Archetype – Jester

D&D arcane trickster
Arcane Trickster

Ever since I picked up my copy of the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, I’ve been annoyed with the arcane trickster. I’ve always felt it was a waste of an opportunity, like they wanted to have an arcane rogue archetype, but they didn’t know what to do.

So they just slapped a limited stock of wizard spells in there because enchantment and illusion spells are rogue-ish. Perhaps they felt that because D&D rogues rely on Intelligence for investigation for looking for traps or identifying locks, they should just stick with the sole Intelligence spellcaster.

A D&D rogue archetype with chutzpah

However, rogues can also rely on Charisma. Using just the Player’s Handbook, the assassin’s Imposter ability uses Charisma, and that doesn’t even include the mastermind or the swashbuckler, two class archetypes that include Charisma skills, but not Intelligence ones. Continue reading Nerdarchy Arcana: D&D Rogue Archetype – Jester

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D&D Spelljammer Warlock: Into the Void

D&D warlock

D&D warlockIn a past article I mentioned customized warlock pacts in my fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Spelljammer campaign.

It came up again during a live chat with Nate the Nerdarch.

With my feet now held to the eldritch fire by publicly mentioning it twice, I’d better put money where my pact-making mouth is and get into it.

This material is an evolving work in progress stemming from my home game.

Although it’s inspired by the Spelljammer setting, it can be adapted for any D&D campaign. Continue reading D&D Spelljammer Warlock: Into the Void

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D&Dized Spider-Man build for D&D 5E

Spider-Man D&D 5E build
Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” [Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures]
As a dutiful nerd and lifelong comic book fan, I went to see “Spider-Man: Homecoming” on opening weekend. There will be no spoilers for the film in this article, but I will say that it is a fantastic movie. It’s also worth noting I’m typically not that much into action movies in general and my critical eye is more than average when it comes to superhero movies.

But all that aside, what I’ve really been thinking about all day is a character build to represent Spider-Man in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. The Nerdarchy YouTube channel has a long history of D&Dizing fictional characters and objects, and it sounded fun to take a shot at this iconic, beloved Marvel Comics character. My previous crack at D&Dizing something – the Sword of Omens from Thundercats – was tons of fun to work on. Continue reading D&Dized Spider-Man build for D&D 5E

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Lich, A Class / Monster Mash up | The Custom Archetype Path for Wizard in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

One of the best things that I like about these class / monster mash up is that everyone knows what to expect.

Lich, A Class / Monster Mash up | The Custom Archetype Path for Wizard in Dungeons & Dragons 5th EditionBoth the DM and the PC know what they are getting into.

DM’s if you are not comfortable with a player heading towards lich -dom

than tell them, “No, don’t even thing about taking this archetype you will be wasting your time”

That way the PC can go and be a necromancer or something less evil and doesn’t waste their time either.

With all of that being said I really enjoyed the Druidic elven lich of previous editions and I don’t feel that the lich in the Monster Manual for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition should be the only option. But that will have to wait for a later date.

For now onto that evil creation of forbidden lore, the Lich.

Lich, A Class / Monster Mash up | The Custom Archetype Path for Wizard in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

For anyone wondering how I was in my younger years of gaming- every single wizard I created secretly wanted ultimate power and to live forever. You know, be a lich.

Some of them wanted it for selfish reasons, some of them wanted to for altruistic reasons. But they all wanted it because I wanted to have an evil or good lich PC.

Guess how many times a DM let me become one…

Yep the big 0,

nada, zip,


Now that I have matured quite a bit as a player the maddening shine has worn off of lich -dom for me. Unless I want to make a very specific character with that goal in mind I tend to make them with a greater variety of desires and goals.

Not all of them as lofty as immortality and ultimate power!

For those of you seeking exactly these things for your spell caster my I suggest the School of Forbidden Lore.

Lich, A Class / Monster Mash up | The Custom Archetype Path for Wizard in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

The School of Forbidden lore is an umbrella School for all of the nasty transformation, necromantic, and alien magics.

This is the School where rests the knowledge of immortality, dark summonings, twisted creations, and otherworldly insights. It is not for the faint or noble of heart.

In fact it makes the former faint and the latter take up noble paladin like quests to slay those who use these secrets.

But enough of that, let us get down to said forbidden secrets.

This School will have several subjects within it but a player can only gain levels in one of the subjects. For example, Secrets of Lich -dom (for making a lich template). I was playing the name game earlier and decided that Books of the Undying was cool but not as descriptive.

Everything is the same as a wizard except what is mentioned below. Note, unlike some of my other class / monster mash ups I am going for as close to an actual wizard class format as possible.

School of Forbidden Lore

2nd Level: You are adept at collecting rare and interesting spells that further your understanding of magic and your research goals.

Beginning at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy a named spell(a spell with someone’s name in the title) into your spellbook is halved. Also, any named spells that are not on the wizard list count as being on the wizard list for you. The wizard spell list is on page 210 of the Player’s Handbook for Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition.

Any wizard, who is not of the forbidden lore school, cannot decipher those augmented spells.

2nd Level: Understanding of Magical Energies: You have discovered ways of shaping spell energy to fit your needs. You now can create such spells as; cloud of ice daggers, necrotic bolts (flame bolt), Melf’s electrified arrow.

Whenever you expend a spell slot, cast a cantrip, or produce a spell effect you may choose to change the type of damage that spell deals to one of the following damage types; cold, lightning, or necrotic. Any other effects that would normally trigger when the spell is cast still happen.

Example: A spell that lights things on fire would still do this effect even if the spell now does cold damage.

What? It’s magic! And a real life example would be a comet, ice on fire. Science! Science! … er … Magic!

6th Level: Improved Absorb Elements: You gain absorb elements as a 1st level spell. If you had it, pick another (see elemental evil player’s supplement for absorb elements). There are a few differences.

First. It can be increased to a 2nd level spell slot to be able to absorb any energy type.

Second. Whenever you cast this and are struck with a resistible energy you can make a ranged spell attack during the following round as a bonus action (Range 30ft, 1d6 damage per level of spell resisted, energy type as per the original spell). This action does not count as casting a spell for that round.

10th Level:True insight. In your pursuit of that which is hidden, you have discovered a way to pierce fallacies and uncover the truths of the magic that makes up the world. You can create a single use ointment that lasts until you take a long rest.

Whoever applies the ointment to their eyelids gains true insight as if the spell True Seeing,  from the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition PHB pg 284, was cast on them. You must expend the spell components required when you create the ointment but you do not expend any spell slots. True Seeing is added to your spell book, if you already have it then select another wizard spell of the appropriate level and add it to your spell book for free.

You may make one of these ointments per long rest.

14th level Life’s Work. You have gained insight into complex and lasting magic. You now know how to transform yourself into a lich, but are not yet strong enough to accomplish the undertaking.

You have created a magical schema for the preparation of a phylactery. The notes reside mostly within your mind with only partial notes placed within your spellbook for safe keeping. With these precautions only you will attain immortal perfection.

crystal chest Lich, A Class / Monster Mash up | The Custom Archetype Path for Wizard in Dungeons & Dragons 5th EditionYou may begin construction of your phylactery at any time. It is a wondrous magic item constructed of rare and exotic items valued at 250,000 gp.

I leave the components and the general theme of it up to the DM and Player. Some suggestions would be an exquisite gem or a mirror of life trapping, shaped like a faceted crystal.

Any magical item required to be created for the phylactery follows the rules for the total cost of the phylactery.

A mirror of life trapping would cost 50,000 gp worth of raw materials to create. Lowering the remaining cost of the phylactery to  200,000 gp worth of items and raw materials.

Extremely rare components have a value higher than standard ones.

I have some bad news, at the end of the creation of the phylactery your character will have to imprison a sentient being as a sacrifice and your character will have to drink some terrible and powerful concoction of death that slays them and allows their soul to forever reside within the phylactery. If you were not down for so heinous an act then you should have read the disclaimer.

Lich, A Class / Monster Mash up | The Custom Archetype Path for Wizard in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

Another disclaimer for this class / monster mash up: you don’t get legendary actions, legendary resistance, or your special attacks. You do gain the following lich abilities; Undead Nature, Rejuvenation, Turn Resistance, Damage Resistances, Immunity to poison, Condition Immunities, and any benefits from being linked to a phylactery. You also gain all of the bad stuff associated with being undead. For example, you may now be turned.

Another catch is this, imprisonment is a 9th level spell and you have to cast it. So don’t rush that phylactery too fast or you will be holding onto a very expensive, yet stylish, paperweight for a few levels. You have three levels in between developing the magical schema and the earliest you can hope to complete the ritual.

Plenty of time to go magic component hunting for all of the items and materials you will need for its construction.

Just remember, don’t tell the rest of the party what you are doing, it’s a secret

 Let me know what you think in the comments below

and don’t forget to share this with like-minded individuals

Until next time, Stay Nerdy!