Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master.

Building Set-Piece Battles

26 September 2016: The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons takes us back to a time when combat encounters can be as short or as long as we want. Where many battles in D&D 4e took an hour or longer, 5e's design all ...

Playing D&D Anywhere

19 September 2016: RPG superstar Monte Cook has a new game he's working on called Invisible Sun. A big part of the game is the recognition that it's hard for players to all gather around the table to play an RPG during ...

Building Encounters in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

12 September 2016: Note: This article is a rewrite of the original from March 2015. Recently on Twitter, lead D&D producer Mike Mearls stated that he is working on new simplified encounter guidelines. We hope that, ...

James Introcaso on Running Great D&D Games with Roll20

6 September 2016: Nearly all of the D&D games I've run over the years have been at a table with live players, dice, books, and pencils. As we know, however, finding and keeping a good group of players for live home ...

Pool Table Dungeon Mastering in Barovia

28 August 2016: Barovia is a living breathing place. Though the D&D adventure Curse of Strahd sets it all out on paper, when we run our games in this fog-enshrouded sandbox, the world comes alive. Barovia is a pe ...

Sly Flourish's Vampires

22 August 2016: Vampires make outstanding villains. These creatures of the night walk among us and yet are not us. Their intellect, moralities, wisdom, and villainy are beyond mortal comprehension. Vampires make fant ...

What D&D Looks Like

15 August 2016: D&D lead designer Mike Mearls had some interesting things to say about the growth of D&D as we've gone from pre-internet, to forums, to video as a method to discuss and show D&D. Here is ...

Failing Forward on a Banshee TPK

8 August 2016: Actual monster difficulty in the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Monster Manual varies within challenge ratings. Monsters such as the beholder and the wraith punch well outside of their challenge r ...

The Case For Published Adventures

1 August 2016: As long as there have been published Dungeons & Dragons adventures, there have been debates over whether we're better off running published adventures or running our own homebrew adventures. There ...

Player-Generated Secrets

25 July 2016: Here at Sly Flourish we're big fans of game preparation through secrets, small tweet-sized bits of lore, plot, or information that the PCs discover in many different ways such as a strange mosaic on t ...

Patience

18 July 2016: Take note that this article has been updated since the original dated March 2012. In particular, you'll notice the topic of combat length coming up more than once in the article. This original article ...

A Focus On Locations

11 July 2016: In typical published adventures, locations and the creatures within them are tied closely together. There is no Castle Ravenloft without Strahd and his strange menagerie of followers. There is no Velk ...

Making Counterspell Awesome

5 July 2016: Of all of the spells in the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, there are few that suck the fun out of the story more than counterspell. Counterspell pulls the flames out of fireballs. It sucks the ...

Character-Focused Encounters

24 June 2016: Here at Sly Flourish we talk a lot about focusing our games around the backgrounds and motivations of the PCs. We think this is the best way to draw players into the game and build cooperative collabo ...

Tarokka-based Random Encounter Effects

20 June 2016: What is this about? Scroll below the card list to read more about these Tarokka-based encounter effects. cards = [{card: "Abjurer", description: "A magical sheild of protection surrounds those pro ...

Discovering Stories through Skills and Backgrounds

13 June 2016: We game masters love to tell stories. We have big tales we want to share. We have 3-ring binders filled with worlds waiting to explode out into our games. When PCs enter a new location and study their ...

Writing Great Flash Fiction

6 June 2016: Note: This article has been republished from the original published in June 2012. Flash fiction, small focused stories running usually less than three hundred words, have a great place in Dungeons and ...

Running Death House

31 May 2016: With the release of Curse of Strahd, the latest rewrite of the excellent Dungeons & Dragons adventure, I6 Ravenloft; Wizards of the Coast also released the book's introductory adventure, Death Hou ...

Finding Players

23 May 2016: Note: This article has been updated from the original published in September 2012. Of all the difficulties facing our desire to run D&D games, the greatest difficulty will always be finding and ke ...

Looking Back on Dungeon World Fronts

16 May 2016: We here in the Sly Flourish laboratories continually look at where GMs can get the most from their effort and time. This all led to the book The Lazy Dungeon Master where we propose that limiting the ...

Building Legendary Creatures in 5e

9 May 2016: Sometimes we DMs really love to throw a single powerful monster against our PCs. In the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, these single powerful monsters are called "legendary" monsters. They have ...

Out of the Abyss Chapter 7: Escape from the Underdark

2 May 2016: This article is the final of an ongoing series of articles covering the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure, Out of the Abyss. You can find previous articles here: Running Out of the Abyss ...

D&D 5e Bonds Based On Fiasco-Style Relationships

25 April 2016: Note: This article has been updated since the original published in February 2013. There are few games more different from D&D than the story-focused RPG Fiasco. In Fiasco, a group of players dete ...

1d20 Shades of Gray

18 April 2016: Note: this article has been updated since the original published in April 2013 One of the things that sets Dungeon World apart from d20-based RPGs is the inclusion of a core mechanic with partial succ ...

Out of the Abyss Chapter 6: Blingdenstone

11 April 2016: This article is one of an ongoing series of articles covering the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons adventure, Out of the Abyss. In this article we're going to cover chapter 6: Blingdenstone. Here is ...

What I Learned Running D&D 5e from Level 1 to 20

4 April 2016: Since the release of the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons I have had the opportunity to run a full campaign spanning levels 1 to 20. During this campaign, we ran through the two Tyranny of Dragon ...

Sharing Secrets, the Lost Chapter of the Lazy Dungeon Master

28 March 2016: When we think about the components we need to run a great RPG adventure, a bunch of things come to mind. Interesting NPCs, fantastic adventure locations, thought-provoking adventure seeds, fun combat ...

A Collection of Awesome Events

21 March 2016: Recently I asked the following question on Twitter: "What is one of your your favorite awesome #dnd moments as a player or DM?" - SlyFlourish I received a bunch of great answers including the follow ...

Asking the Wrong Questions

14 March 2016: Many GMs have begun embracing the fine art of "asking questions" to fill out our game worlds. This gives our players agency to build out parts of the world and parts of the story outside the boundarie ...

Out of the Abyss Chapter 4: Gracklstugh

7 March 2016: This article is one of an ongoing series of articles covering the fifth edition D&D adventure, Out of the Abyss. In this article we're going to cover chapter 4: Gracklstugh. Here is a list of prev ...

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