Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master.

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 ...

Getting Player Feedback

29 February 2016: We can have a lot of personalities at our table and trying to balance them all out to ensure they're all having a good time can be hard work. Feedback is vital to ensure we grow and improve as game ma ...

The Billion Dollar Budget of Narrative Combat

22 February 2016: A while back on the Dungeons and Dragons podcast, D&D design lead, Mike Mearls, described one of the great advantages of narrative "theater of the mind" style combat: the limitless nature of our i ...

Nine Fantastic Encounter Locations

15 February 2016: Dungeons and Dragons games give us an unlimited special effects budget. Powered by our combined imaginations, we can create entire worlds that simply cannot exist in our own universe. Any boundaries w ...

Love Letter to the Paizo Flip Mat

8 February 2016: "When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine." - Pablo Picasso We dungeon masters have ...

Instant NPCs for Fifth Edition D&D

1 February 2016: RPG sage Monte Cook wrote an interesting article called PCs versus NPCs in which he discusses the time we often waste statting out NPCs. These NPCs, he argues, just show up, talk for a bit, and disapp ...

Out of the Abyss Chapter 5: Neverlight Grove

25 January 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 5: Neverlight Grove. Here is a list of ...

Talent, Experience, and John Baldessari

19 January 2016: My good friend and all-around fantastic D&D guy, Teos Abadia, wrote a thought-provoking article entitled Talent vs. Experience. Before you continue, give his article a read and then come on back. ...

Common Game Master Mistakes

4 January 2016: This article has been updated from the original published in November 2012. It's often better to be positive than negative when thinking about improving our skills as game masters. Sometimes, however, ...

The Default Adventure Skeleton

28 December 2015: We've talked about the importance of pacing but this is a hard concept to understand at a practical level. How can we worry about pacing when we have a pile of friends on their way over and need to ke ...

Let's Learn Together

21 December 2015: "He never assumes that he knows more than you do. He says: 'We'll learn this together.'" Annette Kowalski, Bob Ross's Strange Afterlife Mastery is a weird thing. To some, mastery is an end goal, a ...

2015 RPG Gift Guide

14 December 2015: With the holidays upon us and the end of the year coming soon, there are few better times to talk about the best roleplaying game products for you or your friends. Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Thi ...

Running Rise of Tiamat

7 December 2015: From September 2014 to March 2015 I published a set of articles with tips for running Hoard of the Dragon Queen, the first published Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition adventure. If you haven't seen ...

Fantastic Locatons Kickstarter

30 November 2015: A year ago I began a new project. It was a project that spawned right from the heart of The Lazy Dungeon Master. We have a lot of great tools to build fun adventures but one of the hardest things to i ...

Improving Pacing

23 November 2015: "Good pacing is probably the most important trait a GM can have." - Monte Cook, Weird Discoveries As dungeon masters who take their craft seriously, we must continually sharpen our skills. For some ...

Running Out of the Abyss Chapter 3: The Darklake

16 November 2015: This is the third in an ongoing series of articles aiding dungeon masters in running the D&D 5th edition adventure, Out of the Abyss. You can read the previous two articles here: Running Out of t ...

The Case for Static Monster Damage

9 November 2015: The 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual includes static damage for every damaging effect in every monster stat block. Though we're used to rolling damage for monsters, there are big advant ...

Running Out of the Abyss Chapter 2: Into Darkness

2 November 2015: This is the second in an ongoing series of articles discussing how to best run the D&D adventure, Out of the Abyss. Our series began with Running Out of the Abyss Chapter 1 and it's worth starting ...

The Right Tool for the Right Job: Filling your DM Toolbox

26 October 2015: Something about our human nature wants us to toss aside other people's good ideas and focus on our own. "Not invented here" syndrome lies deep within us, even us dungeon masters. This might be due to ...

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