Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master.

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 ...

Three Cool Story Ideas to Avoid

16 June 2014: Note: This article has been rewritten since the original published May 2010. Sometimes we have some really great ideas for our D&D game. We write them faithfully in our fancy Moleskine notebooks. ...

Designing Fantastic Locations

9 June 2014: There are as many ways to design a D&D adventure as there are DMs to run them. Whether you run an adventure as written or improvise everything right at the table, we must always develop and descri ...

Random Name Generator

2 June 2014: This is my random name generator. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Coming up with good fantasy names is one of the harder tricks for the Lazy Dungeon Master. The following script generat ...

Tools of the Lazy Dungeon Master

26 May 2014: This article has been updated from the original written on 6 September 2011 Refine your game preparation on the elements most important to your game and you'll have a game that's easier to run and mor ...

Reskinning Monsters

19 May 2014: Note: This article updates the original published 5 November 2012. You're about to learn a lazy dungeon master technique that can save you thousands of hours in game preparation time and lets the stor ...

Random Trap Generator

12 May 2014: This page randomly generates a list of 100 trap sets. Each trap set includes two traps with two elemental effects tied to a single trigger. Lazy DMs can use these traps as inspiration or roll 1d100 an ...

Dungeons of Fate

5 May 2014: Fantasy dungeon delving house rules for Fate Accelerated by Michael E. Shea. Download the PDF of Dungeons of Fate. Originally posted on 10 December 2013. Character Creation Begin the game by naming yo ...

Using Vault of the Dracolich

28 April 2014: Back in 2013, Teos Abadia, Scott Fitzgerald Gray, and I all worked on the D&D Next adventure Vault of the Dracolich. This adventure fueled an in-store multi-table event in wich bands of adventurer ...

Sharing Secrets

21 April 2014: When we think about the components that make up an adventure and a campaign, a bunch of things come to mind. Interesting NPCs, fantastic adventure locations, fun combat encounters, mysteries, and puzz ...

Random Mundane Magic Item Generator

14 April 2014: This page provides a randomly generated list of one hundred single-use mundane magical items for the fantasy roleplaying game of choice. You can reload this page or click the "reroll" link to generate ...

Three Plus Infinite Choices

7 April 2014: Note: this article has been updated from the original written in February 2013 Debates rage between those who prefer sandbox games and those run "on-the-rails". In sandbox gaming, PCs explore regions ...

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