Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master.

When to Use Side Initiative

20 April 2015: The Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is packed with lots of great tips and optional rules often squirreled away in a single paragraph among the 320 pages of the book. The rule w ...

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Campaign Worksheet

13 April 2015: It's hard to know exactly what we need to keep track of when running our 5th Edition D&D campaigns. The D&D 5e DM Screen has a lot of useful information in it and there are plenty of good D&am ...

Introducing Towns

6 April 2015: Most of our fantasy RPGs, at some point, has us introducing our group of heroes to a new town. As common as it is, however, introducing a town can be tough to manage at the table. It's likely you migh ...

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Episode 8: Skyreach

30 March 2015: It's been a long journey from Greenest to Skyreach but we're closing in on the end of the first published Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition adventure, Hoard of the Dragon Queen. This article focuses on ...

Building Encounters in 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

20 March 2015: Note: This article is a first stab at trying to simplify D&D 5e's encounter balance rules. It's not likely to succeed on the very first try. Expect this article to change as we all learn more abou ...

Using Fate-style Zones in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

16 March 2015: At the Pax East 2015 Acquisitions Incorporated D&D game, master dungeon master, Chris Perkins, used an unexpected system for his tactical depiction of the Acquisitions Incorporated base of operati ...

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Episode 7: The Hunting Lodge

9 March 2015: This article continues our journey through the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure module for the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. This article covers Episode 7: The Hunting Lodge. You can read al ...

Playing Favorites

2 March 2015: We witnessed an interesting dynamic in the PAX Prime 2014 Acquisitions Incorporated game. We saw a situation that we, as dungeon masters continually looking to improve our game, rarely get to see so c ...

Facilitating Choices

23 February 2015: At some point in all D&D games, groups of adventurers, and the players who run them, must sit down and make a choice. It might be about a particular direction they're going to take. It might be ab ...

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Chapter 6: Castle Naerytar

16 February 2015: This article continues our journey through the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure module for the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. This article covers Episode 6: Castle Naerytar. You can read all ...

D&D 5e Numbers to Keep In Your Head

9 February 2015: The flat math system of Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition makes it much easier to calculate math on the fly. We've already talked about customizing monsters by tweaking attributes. While we can certain ...

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Chapter 5: The Carnath Roadhouse

2 February 2015: This article continues our journey through the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure module for the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Here you will find tips and tricks for running your own version o ...

Another Approach for Rewarding Experience

26 January 2015: The 5th Edition of D&D has two primary ways to reward experience. The first involves calculating experience rewards for monsters defeated and quests completed and then dividing this up among the P ...

Tips for New Dungeon Masters

20 January 2015: Planning to run a Dungeons and Dragons game can be an intimidating experience for anyone, regardless of experience. In this article, we discuss a few tips for new dungeon masters to make it as easy as ...

Relics: Single-use D&D 5E Magic Items

12 January 2015: Compared to previous versions of D&D and other fantasty RPGs, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition is a bit stingy with the magic items. According to the Dungeon Master's Guide, a PC should receive ro ...

Thoughts on the Neverwinter MMO

5 January 2015: On 5 December 2014, Arc Games released the Rise of Tiamat module for the Neverwinter Massive Online Game. With the Tyranny of Dragons campaign in full swing supported by the Hoard of the Dragon Queen ...

Four Principles for House Rules

29 December 2014: Note: This article has been updated from the original posted 10 August 2009. Our ability to modify our tabletop RPG is it's one true strength over other forms of gaming. Each GM isn't just a referee f ...

Customizing Monsters by Tweaking Attributes

22 December 2014: The flat-math design of D&D 5th Edition simplifies monster customization to change their behavior or increase their power. Like reskinning, attribute modification is simple enough to be done at th ...

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. You can read all of our Hoard of the Dragon Queen articles here: Episode 1: Greenest in Flames Episode 2: The Raider's Camp Epis ...

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 all of our Hoard of the Drago ...

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. You can read all of o ...

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 ...

View All Articles