Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master.

Session Zero of Waterdeep Dragon Heist

18 February 2019: Note, this article contains spoilers for Waterdeep Dragon Heist. Running a session zero for any new campaign offers many benefits. Session zeros help us and our players all get on the same page about ...

Always Be Learning

11 February 2019: Great DMs are always refining their craft. We are not static beings. We learn. We adapt. We don't throw away our decades of past experiences when a new idea comes along. We use those experiences as ou ...

Throwing Away Secrets

4 February 2019: I often receive questions both from readers of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master and those watching my Lazy DM Prep videos regarding throwing away secrets from session to session. For many people, thi ...

Converting Vault of the Dracolich to Fifth Edition D&D

28 January 2019: This article has been updated since the original published in April 2014. Back in 2013, Teos Abadia, Scott Fitzgerald Gray, and I all worked on the adventure Vault of the Dracolich. This adventure was ...

The Deadly Shift of Tomb of Annihilation

22 January 2019: Warning, this article contains spoilers for Tomb of Annihilation. This article is one in a series of artices I wrote for running the D&D hardcover adventure Tomb of Annihilation. You can find link ...

Facing Insurmountable Foes

14 January 2019: In the beginning of Hoard of the Dragon Queen the characters face off against Lennithon, an adult blue dragon, when the characters are likely level 1. It doesn't take any powerful encounter building t ...

Storytelling with Spells: Fireball

7 January 2019: This is the first in a new series of articles that focuses on how particular spells in D&D can tell stories all by themselves. The core D&D books are full of fantastic ideas for stories but so ...

Playing Dungeons & Dragons On A Budget

31 December 2018: One of the interesting things about Dungeons & Dragons is the incredibly wide range for its potential costs. The cost to play D&D can go anywhere from free to potentially thousands of dollars ...

Adventure Hooks

24 December 2018: In an interview on D&D Beyond, legendary adventure writer Chris Perkins describes the requirements for a solid adventure: Good villains and monsters. A location for the adventure to take place. A ...

Running Omu

17 December 2018: This article is one in a series of artices I wrote for running the D&D hardcover adventure Tomb of Annihilation. You can find links to all of the articles below: Session Zero of Tomb of Annihilat ...

D&D's Nastier Specials

10 December 2018: I love the roleplaying game 13th Age by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet. Written as a love-letter to D&D by two designers who worked on two different editions of D&D, 13th Age has some of my fa ...

Easier Initiative Cards

3 December 2018: Note, this article has been updated since the original written in 2012. Many DMs like to use tent cards hanging over a DM screen to run initiative and this is a fantastic way to do it. There are a few ...

Generating Enhanced Tomb Guardians

26 November 2018: This article is one in a series of artices I wrote for running the D&D hardcover adventure Tomb of Annihilation. You can find links to all of the articles below: Session Zero of Tomb of Annihilat ...

Running Meaningful Random Encounters

19 November 2018: In a previous article on Sly Flourish we talked about the value of randomness and creativity in D&D and breaking conventional thought with random tables. Randomness is obviously a big part of the ...

Why I Love Madness

13 November 2018: As part of the work we did on the Lazy Dungeon Master's Workbook, I surveyed the Kickstarter backers of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master and asked them which references, charts, and tables they found ...

Our Ability Check Toolbox

5 November 2018: The more we focus on the story of D&D, the more ability checks become the main mechanic as characters interact with the world around them. Asking for checks and getting the results sounds easy. A ...

The Hunger: A Level 1 to 20 Gnoll Campaign

29 October 2018: Reading Volo's Guide to Monsters, along with the Monster Manual is a fantastic way to fill our head with D&D lore that helps us plan our games and improvise while we're running them. If you get no ...

Handling Tag-Along NPCs

22 October 2018: This article is one in a series of artices I wrote for running the D&D hardcover adventure Tomb of Annihilation. You can find links to all of the articles below: Session Zero of Tomb of Annihilat ...

Running Ravenloft

12 October 2018: Note: This article has been updated since its original version published in November 2012. Published in 1983, the classic D&D adventure I6 Ravenloft, was ranked in 2004 by Dungeon magazine as the ...

A New Dungeon Master's Guide For Building Encounters

8 October 2018: Note: This article is reposed with permission from the original posted to D&D Beyond on March 2018. It is the sixth in a six-part series of articles focused on helping new D&D DMs put together ...

Giving Characters Hard Choices

1 October 2018: Dungeons & Dragons is a game full of choices. From running campaigns to running characters, from steering world-shaking events to choosing an approach while having a conversation with a merchant, ...

A New DM's Guide to Miniatures

24 September 2018: Note: This article is reposed with permission from the original posted to D&D Beyond on March 2018. It is the fifth of a series of articles focused on helping new D&D DMs put together and run ...

Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set: Running Phandelver

17 September 2018: The Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Starter Set includes an adventure that exemplifies the pace and feeling of the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. As the introductory adventure to the fifth ...

Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master

10 September 2018: Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, the spiritual successor to the Lazy Dungeon Master is now available for purchase! Currently you can buy the ebook package which includes the PDF and ePub version of ...

Running Hags

4 September 2018: Hags may be the perfect low-level boss monster and they run best when we focus less on their stat block and more on how they'll make the lives of the characters miserable over the course of a low-leve ...

Managing Mysteries and Plot Twists

27 August 2018: Running mysteries in D&D is exceedingly difficult. Unlike great mystery stories, we have no idea how the characters will navigate the situation. On top of this, it's likely our players may uncover ...

DM's Deep Dive with Paige Leitman on D&D Streaming and Organized Play

20 August 2018: On June 2018 episode of the DM's Deep Dive, I had the great pleasure to talk with Paige Leitman, organizer for Dragon Con D&D games, writers of con-created content for the Adventurers League, and ...

Improvisation for New D&D Dungeon Masters

13 August 2018: Note: This article is reposed with permission from the original posted to D&D Beyond on March 2018. It is the fourth of a six-part series of articles focused on helping new D&D DMs put togethe ...

The Hard Parts of Running D&D

6 August 2018: For many of us, running D&D games is a great joy in our lives. We get together with friends, share laughs, tell stories, and have a great time together. Running D&D games, however, isn't easy, ...

A Dwarven Forge Caverns Deep Kickstarter Guide

30 July 2018: Updated 15 August Note: This Kickstarter is now over but I'm keeping this article around for those who backed it and will soon use the pledge manager to choose their final selections. Switched to che ...

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