Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master.

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Chapter 4: On the Road Part 2

15 December 2014: This article continues our look at running Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Here is a list of the other articles covering this adventure: Episode 1: Greenest in Flames Episode 2: The Raider's Camp Episode ...

The Danger of All-Or-Nothing Collection Quests

9 December 2014: There's a theme in recently published D&D adventures, Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle, Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and Rise of Tiamat. It's a theme we've often seen in adventures before. Bad guys are ...

Empowerment

1 December 2014: Players want their PCs to feel empowered in just about every situation in which they find themselves. This is a stark contrast to "real life" but it's also one of the reasons we seek escape in games l ...

Substitution Cipher Puzzles

24 November 2014: Coming up with interesting puzzles for our players to uncover and solve can be hard work for the busy dungeon master. While there's an infinite supply of potential puzzles, finding the right one and c ...

Running Organized Play Adventures

17 November 2014: Running adventures for organized play is quite different than running games for your home group. Some of these differences are very clear like the fact that you'll likely be running a game for people ...

Hoard of the Dragon Queen 4: On the Road Part 1

10 November 2014: This article is the fourth in a series of articles covering each episode of the D&D 5th Edition adventure, Hoard of the Dragon Queen. The three previous chapters include Greenest in Flames, the Ba ...

What's Cool?

3 November 2014: Recent roleplaying games such as D&D 5th Edition, Fate Accelerated, Dungeon World, 13th Age, and Numenera put a great deal of responsibility and authority to the game master to adjudicate actions ...

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Episode 3: Dragon Hatchery

27 October 2014: In case you missed it, we're writing tips and tricks for each of the chapters of Hoard of the Dragon Queen, the first official D&D 5th Edition adventure. You can read up on previous chapters here: ...

Tracking Abstract Combat

20 October 2014: We've talked previously about running narrative combat with D&D 5th Edition but we can often get stuck when trying to understand exactly how we can do so. Sometimes running combat completely in th ...

Hoard of the Dragon Queen: Raider's Camp

13 October 2014: This is the second part in an ongoing series of articles to help us make the most out of the first published 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons adventure Hoard of the Dragon Queen. To catch up you can r ...

Making the Most of the Monster Manual

6 October 2014: Of all of the aids we DMs require, none is more valuable than the monster manual. The time required to develop the mechanical crunch of these monsters is staggering and it's a huge load off of our pla ...

What Are Hit Points?

29 September 2014: For as long as we've had hit points as a mechanic, debates have raged about what exactly these hit points represent. Do they represent actual injury? Do they represent the overall flow of a battle's e ...

Put PCs First

22 September 2014: When you're sitting down to prepare your game, keep a list of the PCs, their backgrounds, and their motivations in front of you. Great RPGs thrive on the goals and motivations of the PCs. While we GMs ...

D&D 5e Gotchas

15 September 2014: At Gencon 2014 the Wizards of the Coast R&D team discussed tricks to the Dungeons and Draogns 5th Edition rules that DMs and players might forget at their (or the poor monsters') peril. Many of us ...

Hoard of the Dragon Queen: Greenest in Flames

11 September 2014: Hoard of the Dragon Queen: Greenest in Flames Taking the spot as the first officially published Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition adventure (excluding Lost Mines of Phandelver included in the the Dunge ...

Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set: Running Phandelver

8 September 2014: The Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Starter Set includes an adventure that exemplifies the pace and attitude of the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. As the introductory adventure to D&D 5e, ...

Dungeons of Fate: Tomb of Horrors

2 September 2014: At Gencon 2014 James Grummell and I hosted a pickup game of Dungeons of Fate based in the Tomb of Horrors and designed as a multi-table event. Like Vault of the Dracolich we wanted this multi-table ev ...

Facilitating Empowered Investigation

25 August 2014: When people sit down to play Dungeons and Dragons, they want to feel empowered. Players want to feel a sense of discovery and a sense that they can influence the world. They want to feel like their de ...

Running Narrative Combat

18 August 2014: For many of us who have spent a great deal of time running gridded combat with tabletop tactical maps and miniatures, the very concept of running battles without any visual representation can be quite ...

How to Protect Your Villains

11 August 2014: Note: this article has been updated from the original published 5 April 2010. From a storytelling angle, we GMs love our big bad evil guys (BBEGs). These villains drive the ire of our players and move ...

13th Age Session Review: There Will Be Dragons

7 August 2014: Experience Points The monster leveling system on page 253 of the 13th Age book lets you asymmetrically tune monsters around the capabilities of your specific set of PCs to keep the challenge up. Hig ...

Gaming Convention Survival Guide

4 August 2014: Note: This article has been updated from its original 28 March 2011 edition just in time for us to use it to prepare for Gencon 2014. Gaming conventions are our pilgrimages to nerd mecca. They let us ...

13th Age Session Review: The Moonwreck Underworld

31 July 2014: Experience Points People used and appreciated the averaging of dice for high level 13th Age play. For every pair of dice removed, add 1 + the max on one die. For example, 9d8+15 becomes 3d8+42. Us ...

A D&D 4th Edition DM's Guide to 5th Edition

28 July 2014: Some 5e Quick Tips for the 4e DM This is a rather lengthy article so here's a quick summary of tips for 4e DMs who plan to run D&D 5th Edition. Instead of using primarily gridded tactical combat, ...

Clue Cards

21 July 2014: We lazy dungeon masters are always looking for simple tips and tricks to make our game easier to organize and more fun for ourselves and our players. In a past article, we've talked about sharing secr ...

13th Age Session Review: The Pyramid of Set

17 July 2014: The following article describes the recent experiences in our home 13th Age game based on the area of Moonwreck. We'll start with a few useful tips in case you want to skip most of the story focus. Ex ...

Pillars of Preparation

14 July 2014: The D&D 5th Edition Starter Set and Basic Rules PDF describe the three pillars of gameplay that make up D&D: exploration, interaction, and combat. While these define well the main spheres of t ...

13th Age Icon Roll Benefits

7 July 2014: Though icon rolls are one of the most unique factors in 13th Age, it isn't always the clearest rule to implement. The 13th Age core book describes the use of icon rolls for guiding the story, giving o ...

Rewarding Loot with Icon Rolls

29 June 2014: Icon rolls are one of the hallmarks of 13th Age. By tying PCs to powerful political forces in the gameworld and rolling to see which of those forces might be active at the beginning of every game sess ...

Five Facts About Moonwreck

23 June 2014: The Lazy Dungeon Master discusses a different way to articulate your campaign world to your PCs. Instead of inundating them with hundreds of pages of background, you can focus your campaign down to a ...

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