Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master.

Thinking Through the Eyes of our Villains

23 October 2017: When we consider the activities that bring the most joy to our game, particularly activities that we can do anywhere, few are as useful as thinking through the eyes of our villains. This is a techniqu ...

Top Tips from a Sample of 4,000 Dungeon Masters

16 October 2017: Each one of us has opinions and ideas on how to make our D&D games great. It's harder, however, to group all of these opinions together to find the commonalities. By categorizing a random sample o ...

Improvising Combat Situations with Advantage, Disadvantage, and Inspiration

10 October 2017: Keeping combat scenes fresh and interesting is a hard job. Many players have played and will play through thousands of combat encounters and it's up to us DMs to make each one memorable. We DMs proba ...

DM's Deep Dive with James Introcaso on Roll20

2 October 2017: In another episode of the DM's Deep Dive, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to my friend and co-creator of the Don't Split the Podcast network, James Introcaso about running games on Roll20. Jam ...

Injecting the Hard Moves

25 September 2017: The fantastic roleplaying game Dungeon World is a treasure trove of wonderful ideas we can bring right into our fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons games. We've talked in the past about using fron ...

Tools of the Lazy Dungeon Master

18 September 2017: This article has been updated from the original written on 6 September 2011 Prepare what matters to our game. That's the core mantra for the way of the Lazy Dungeon Master. It's an easy statement to ...

Battle Map Comparisons

11 September 2017: Note: This article has been updated from the original article posted 3 August 2009. More than ever, we have numerous fantastic ways to run combat in our Dungeons & Dragons games. Over forty years, ...

5e Dungeons & Dragons Facebook Survey Results

4 September 2017: In October 2016 I ran a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons survey of 6,600 dungeon masters to better understand how DMs prepare and run their games. I wasn't happy to stop there, however. Lately I've ...

Matt Mercer on Bringing NPCs to Life

28 August 2017: In July 2017, on the DM's Deep Dive I had the privilege to talk to Matt Mercer of Critical Role about bringing NPCs in our D&D games to life. Matt is a professional voice actor and very popular st ...

Managing Player Attendance with an On-Call List

21 August 2017: The hardest part about running a Dungeons & Dragons game is finding players and keeping them coming back to your table week after week. We love to pontificate the importance of preparation, buildi ...

A Guide to Official D&D 5th Edition Published Adventures

14 August 2017: This article will provide a guide to the official fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons adventures published by Wizards of the Coast. They are ordered in my own order of preference, from top to bottom. ...

Choose Monsters Based on the Story

7 August 2017: A Short Summary for Narrative-Based Encounter Building Choose the type and number of monsters appropriate for the story and situation. Judge the relative difficulty of the encounter with our encou ...

Awarding Magic Items in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

31 July 2017: A Quick Checklist for Distributing Magic Items Magic item rewards are an important part of D&D and worth our time to prepare. Tie magic items to the story we create with our group; whether it's a ...

Mob Damage Calculator for 5e Dungeons & Dragons

24 July 2017: D&D 5e Mob Damage Calculator Use this form to calculate the amount of damage inflicted to a character from a mob consisting of many monsters. See page 250 of the Dungeon Master's Guide for detail ...

Letting Go of Defined Encounters

17 July 2017: The fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons describes the core elements of the game as "exploration, interaction, and combat". In 4th edition, we spent a lot of time building clear "encounters" tuned ...

DM's Deep Dive with Tom Lommel on Improvisation

10 July 2017: This past month on the DM's Deep Dive Tom Lommel, AKA the Dungeon Bastard, discussed the topic of improvisation and D&D. In a recent query of both Twitter and Facebook, creativity, flexibility, a ...

Dwarven Forge Buyer's Guide

3 July 2017: Note: This article is an update from the original published in June 2010. One of the interesting things about the hobby of Dungeons & Dragons is the extreme range of the cost to play. Essentially, ...

Instant NPCs for Fifth Edition D&D

26 June 2017: Note, this article has been updated from the original posted in February 2016. RPG sage Monte Cook wrote an interesting article called PCs versus NPCs in which he discusses the time we often waste put ...

The Top Traits of a Good Dungeon Master

19 June 2017: On 9 May 2017, I posted a note to both Twitter and Facebook asking for, in one or two words, the three most important traits for a good D&D dungeon master. This returned roughly 162 total response ...

Streaming D&D Full Time with Will Jones

12 June 2017: In May 2017 on the DM's Deep Dive I spoke to Will Jones of Encounter Roleplay who plays D&D full time on Twitch professionally. For us old timers who barely have a handle on what Twitch is, this i ...

The Villains of Storm King's Thunder: Iymrith

5 June 2017: Note: This article contains numerous spoilers for Storm King's Thunder. Turn away now if you are planning to play in this campaign. There are a number of villains in the published adventure Storm Kin ...

GM Walk-Away Kit

29 May 2017: Note, this article updates the original February 2012 version. When we GMs are off to a game away from home, it can be tough to bring only what we need and avoid filling a U-Haul full of Dwarven Forge ...

Analyzing the Best D&D Advice

22 May 2017: On 4 May 2017, Gill Sulivan posted a topic to the popular Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Facebook group asking for the best D&D advice in four words or less. This resulted in over 1,400 respon ...

Thoughts on Exploration

15 May 2017: The fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons describes three main types of gameplay in the game: exploration, roleplaying, and combat. Combat is probably the most well refined part of the game. We gen ...

Looking at the History of D&D with DM David

8 May 2017: Last month I had the privilege of talking to David Hartlage of the DM David website and Twitter account. Around the time that D&D Next came out, David started writing wonderful and deep-thinking a ...

Character-Focused Ancient Monuments

1 May 2017: Ancient monuments are a cornerstone of D&D games. They fill out the "exploration" portions of D&D. They're something weird to investigate when traveling across the lands of old. They're a rema ...

An Analysis of the #dnd Twitter Community

24 April 2017: Before we begin, we have about a week left on our Fantastic Adventures Kickstarter. If you're a fan of the site and are looking for ten short adventures for your fifth edition RPG, please give it a l ...

Three Things to Do While Traveling

17 April 2017: Travel scenes in D&D can be tricky to run. We want travel to be meaningful. If the characters are going to hike it from Nightstone to Bryn Shander, they should feel like they've actually gone five ...

Breaking Conventional Thought with Random Tables

10 April 2017: In 1974 Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt built a set of cards designed to help people break out of conventional thought called Oblique Strategies. This deck of cards each contained an odd phrase such as "l ...

Sly Flourish's Fantastic Adventures on Kickstarter!

3 April 2017: Last year, thanks to nearly 800 of you fine folks, we were able to put together and release the book Sly Flourish's Fantastic Locations. This year we're digging one level deeper with Sly Flourish's Fa ...

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