Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master.

Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master

12 February 2018: Five years ago I wrote the book the Lazy Dungeon Master. This was in the middle of the transition between the 4th edition and 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Since then, the book has done extre ...

Encounter Building with Teos Abadia

5 February 2018: In the December 2017 episode of the DM's Deep Dive, I spoke to D&D designer Teos Abadia about encounter building for the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Our goal in this show was to dig d ...

A New Dungeon Master's Guide to the Forgotten Realms

29 January 2018: The Forgotten Realms is a fantasy world developed over fifty years and in publication for thirty. There are nearly three hundred products available for the Forgotten Realms according to a quick search ...

The Lazy Approach to Stronger Encounters

22 January 2018: Most of the time we can probably run monsters right out of the Monster Manual at our 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons games without having to change anything. There's a freedom that comes from using ...

Getting the Most out of Storm King's Thunder

16 January 2018: This article may seem one year too late but I've finally completed running Storm King's Thunder not once, but twice. Only now do I feel like I can speak with some authority about how we can make the m ...

The Best of Sly Flourish 2017

8 January 2018: Whatever else was going on in the rest of the world, 2017 was a wonderful year for our wonderful hobby. We here at Sly Flourish continued to try our best to help DMs run the best D&D games they co ...

Making Awesome Dungeons

2 January 2018: Note, this article has been updated from the original written in October 2010. Dungeons are one of the staples of Dungeons & Dragons. They even make up 50% of the title of the game. Today we're go ...

Letter to a New Dungeon Master

26 December 2017: The following is a letter I gave to a co-worker's son who just began his, hopefully long, career as a Dungeons & Dragons dungeon master. I thought it might be useful for the rest of us as well. Hi ...

Three Years of D&D 5e with Mike Mearls

18 December 2017: In November 2017 on the DM's Deep Dive I had the great pleasure to talk with Mike Mearls, the senior manager for the Dungeons & Dragons team, about our experiences with three years of the fifth ed ...

Tweaking Monster Hit Points

11 December 2017: When we look at monster hit points in the Monster Manual, we're given two numbers. We're given the monster's hit dice equation—the equation that tells us the range of hit points a monster can ha ...

Boosts for Poor Luck

4 December 2017: If you get anything out of this article, consider these shared experiences: We can learn a lot by playing D&D instead of just DMing stuff all the time. Things that aren't clear at all become crys ...

The DM's Deep Dive with Stefan Pokorny

27 November 2017: Of all of the high-end products we can buy for our D&D games, few grab more attention than Dwarven Forge. These fantastic 3d terrain pieces take our battle maps and build them up to the sky. We've ...

Acererak's Prepared Spells

20 November 2017: Note: This article contains spoilers for the D&D adventure Tomb of Annihilation. We talk a lot about boss monsters here at Sly Flourish. We talked about running the Deadly Lich, Running Strahd, an ...

Sly Flourish's Curated Flat Plastic Miniatures

13 November 2017: If you're looking for a low-cost, high-value, durable, and easily transportable set of miniatures for your Dungeons & Dragons game, check out Sly Flourish's curated flat plastic miniatures, 168 fl ...

How My D&D Surveys are Wrong and Why I Use Them Anyway

10 November 2017: Special thanks to Pete Watson-Wailes for helping me work through the logic and science in this post. Recently, I've posted a number of articles that attempt to take a more data-centric look at the D&a ...

Collected Experiences Running D&D 5e Boss Fights

6 November 2017: Boss fights in any edition of Dungeons & Dragons haven't been easy to run well. Only until the fourth edition of D&D were boss monsters designed differently from other monsters, referred to as ...

DM's Deep Dive with Robin Laws

30 October 2017: Robin Laws is one of the great deep thinkers of roleplaying games, showing up on many peoples' bookshelf with the thin but powerful Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering. More recently, Robin wrote the b ...

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 and Twitter 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 ...

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