Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master.

Empowering Player-Driven Storytelling

24 August 2015: Note: This article has been updated since the original published in September 2013.* In a D&D Next playtest video from July 2013, Mike Mearls ran the D&D R&D team through the classic adven ...

Dungeons and Dragons Tips From Gencon 2015

17 August 2015: During Gencon 2015, I had the opportunity to play in twelve 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons games over four days. I had ten different dungeon masters of all different skill levels. Many of these game ...

Handling Group Skill Checks

10 August 2015: Skill checks are one of the main interfaces between players and the stories they create. It is the random seed that steers things off course and builds unexpected outcomes. Individual skill checks are ...

Going There

3 August 2015: The older we get the harder it is for us to fall back into our dreams and really go there. As children we seem to be free to let our imaginations run wild. A cardboard box can become the palace from F ...

Unsuck My Vampire

20 July 2015: As a combat opponent, the vampire in the 5th edition Monster Manual doesn't pose a strong threat. Comparing it to the beholder, another challenge rating 13 monster, the beholder is ruining mages with ...

Things Worth Preparing

13 July 2015: In the Lazy Dungeon Master and in the article Five Minute Game Preparation we talk about eliminating less useful activities while preparing for our D&D game. What parts of our preparation is worth ...

Starting Strong

6 July 2015: When we consider the elements we should prepare for our regular D&D session, a list that is considerably smaller than we might think, there is no item more important than understanding where the g ...

Creating High Level Swarms in 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

29 June 2015: Even with the fast combat of the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, we might still need some tricks up our sleeves for running large piles of monsters against a number of PCs. Luckily, 5e D&D ha ...

Ancient Monuments

22 June 2015: In ages past, magic was plentiful. The world was young and the gods were filled with righteous energy. Powerful archmages and high priests surrounded their lands with artifacts bursting with supernatu ...

Prince of the Apocalypse: Running Chapter 6

15 June 2015: Princes of the Apocalypse is Wizard of the Coast's second major campaign adventure after the two Tyranny of Dragons adventures, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat. It's also the first advent ...

Battling Armor Class

8 June 2015: In Joe Lastowski's worthwhile criticism of Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition monster design, he shines a light on the focus on armor class as most likely target for monster attacks. Here's a quote: No ...

Refined Five Minute Game Preparation

1 June 2015: In the Lazy Dungeon Master we try to narrow down adventure preparation to 5 minutes on a single 3x5 note card. If we DMs have only five minutes to prepare our game, what would we spend the time? What ...

Random Tables of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

26 May 2015: The 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is packed with useful information for your 5e Dungeons and Dragons game. One of its most useful features is the huge amount of random tables. Random tables are a ...

D&D Environmental Effects: The Unhallowed Pillars

18 May 2015: The 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons doesn't focus on building detailed set-piece encounters like 4th edition did but the same techniques work just as well with this new version of the game. While ...

Making Monsters Interesting

11 May 2015: Friend and fellow contributor to the Tome Show Joe Lastowski wrote an interesting criticism of monster design in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. Here's a quote: I feel like most of the monsters in ...

"Do They Die?"

4 May 2015: There's an interesting history behind non-lethal combat in Dungeons and Dragons. In the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons, it took significant effort to fight someone into submission but not kill th ...

Making Terrain Fun

27 April 2015: This article has been rewritten from the original posted in May 2010. Too often we DM's focus on building terrain as a challenge to PCs. There are certainly times where the terrain works against our P ...

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 5e c ...

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 ...

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