Author: Archmage Derek

Charting a New Course: Summer Holiday and New Directions

Running a website by yourself is hard, and when you do it for long enough, you really only know how to do just that – run it by yourself. Add in a mix of sudden design work in the form of commissions and design work while trying to acclimate new team members into the mix.…

From the Archives: Re-skinning and Roleplaying Part 1

This article was written by a younger Archmage Derek back when the Mage College was still on Blogspot.  Take it away past Derek! (Art: Alhammerret’s Archive by Richard Write, Wizards of the Coast) Blast from the Past You’ve decided to play a Battle Master Fighter. Kevin, your table’s optimizer says, “Oh, well at least isn’t…

Magical Musings: Psychic Damage

You’re drifting off to sleep in your bed, when suddenly you startle and get the sensation of falling. Your eyes shoot open, and and your heart is pounding. You’ve just experienced a hypnic jerk, but whether or not you realize it, your body just experienced what might be considered the real world precursor to psychic…

Otter-luke’s Irresistible Cuteness: Otters in 5e

Otters are huge. Well, they’re pretty small. Unless, they’re a giant otter, then they can be about 1.8 meters (approx. 6 feet) long. That’s neither here nor there, what we mean to say is, otters are a popular critter on the internet, and our friend Ky, a talented artist and streamer in the D&D community,…

Ascended Tiefling Subrace

The other day, the magically talented Critical Bard pointed out that if there are fallen aasimar shouldn’t there be some sort of celestial tiefling subrace? Well, who are we to not deliver on the possibility, especially as tieflings are one of the favored race options at the Mage College. So we present to you the…

Can You Play a TTRPG Wrong?

The answer to this question is a complicated one. We have to look at what “playing wrong” means. Unfortunately, the English language doesn’t like being very exact in its use of adjectives, so we have to make do with specifics. There’s a few different directions this question can go, so let’s be specific. You can…

Diabolical Plans: Running Villains Like Badasses

(Waterdeep: Dragon Heist cover, Tyler Jacobson, Wizards of the Coast) Every so often on Twitter, you see the complaint get aired, “My villain got killed in the first act,” or something like, “My BBEG died in the second encounter! They were so cool though!” These grievances are shockingly common. Sadly, plot armor is not something that…

Base Class Basics: Building Your Own D&D Class

Base classes are difficult to design in 5e. In no way does it mean that it is impossible, but there are a few big hurdles to overcome if you decide that you want to design your own base class. If you have spent more than three minutes on DMsGuild, you probably have noticed that there…

Sacred Oath: Oath of Nightsong

Today on the Mage College, we introduce a Sacred Oath designed specifically for followers of one of my favorite Forgotten Realms, Eilistraee. Though, to be more specific this Sacred Oath was created for my favorite follower of Eilistraee, Leoni, or as many know her, the fantastic GlossandGadgets, chairwoman, creator, artist, animator of Goldhart Gaming, who…

Valentine’s Day Special – Revised Divine Domain: Love

A year ago, I was inspired by fantastic people in the community like my dear wife Kannah, my now friend and hero Ruty Rutenberg, and others like Matt Mercer, Krystina Arielle, Satine Phoenix, and many more who advocate for love and compassion into our D&D community. Love is central to community and the people in…