The Best of Sly Flourish

by Mike Shea on 27 December 2010

With over 130 articles over the past couple of years, it's easy to lose some of the most useful Sly Flourish posts in the general noise of the site. Below you'll find my favorite ten Sly Flourish articles written since the site began.

Three Cheap D&D Aids

While various aids for your D&D game might break the bank, there are a few simple and cheap tools you can find around the house that dramatically improve your D&D game. This article talks about using bottle rings, 3x5 note cards and poker chips to make your game better.

Monster Knowledge Cards

This article talks about one of the best ways I've seen to speed up 4th Edition D&D battles: revealing monster defenses to your players. In this article we talk about building monster knowledge cards, 3x5 cards containing monster defenses, and how you can use them in your game without breaking the fun of discovering a monster's weakness in the story. This is my favorite single tip of the year.

Three Monster Powers to Speed Up Combat

Speeding up combat always seems like a goal we 4e DMs chase. This article gives you three optional powers to apply to your larger monsters. When the battle starts to get draggy, they can use these powers to trade hit points for some offensive and defensive mechanics. This article gives you a good idea how to change things on the fly to make battles run faster and with a bit more excitement.

How to Protect your Elite Villains

For powerful groups above level 11, you'll want to find ways to protect your main antagonists lest they become the nerd pushed around between party members with a "kick me" sign on their back and a bucket over their head. This article gives you some tips and options for protecting your villains so they stand a chance of surviving your group's initial onslaught enough to laugh and twirl a mustache.

Making Awesome Dungeons

While some people just clearly don't get it, dungeons are core to a good D&D experience. In this article we explore the steps required to build awesome dungeons with a focus on fantastic, functional, familiar dungeons built to give your players the most excitement and joy at the table.

Effort-based Experience Rewards

Handing out experience based on the number of creatures defeated doesn't always properly reward the efforts of your group. In this article we describe an alternative method for giving out experience that is easy to do and gives characters experience based on their actual effort in a battle. Easy battles result in less experience, difficult battles result in greater experience, all independent of the monsters battled. It's a nice alternative system that is easy to do and gives your players tangible rewards.

Providing Real Choices

Good, meaningful choices are critical to a good D&D game. In this article we explore techniques for ensuring your group has the opportunity to make meaningful choices beyond which door they want to kick in but still make those choices something around which you can build a game.

Three Tips I Learned from Dragon Age

The computer and console game, Dragon Age, contains one of the most detailed, emotional, and thought provoking roleplaying engines ever passed through a processor. In this article we'll take a look at three tips you can steal directly from Dragon Age and apply into your own tabletop RPG.

Battle Map Comparisons

There are a lot of possible battle map options for running tabletop encounters. In this article we compare six different options for battle maps from the budget minded wet-erase battle maps to go-all-out Dwarven Forge options. This article will help you choose which selection best fits your budget and your game.

Dwarven Forge Buyer's Guide

Though not for everyone, Dwarven Forge 3d terrain adds a whole new dimension to tabletop fantasy games (pun intended). In this article we discuss the first steps one can take in getting the maximum value for your dollar with these expensive but quality terrain elements.

If you're looking for more excellent tips to make your game better, take a look at Sly Flourish's Dungeon Master's Tips. If you enjoyed these articles, you can also give back by using these links to purchase the Dungeon Master's Kit, the Monster Vault, the Dungeon Tile Master Set, or bookmark this link to purchase stuff from Amazon. If you need some good flip maps, take a look at the Gamemastery Flip Maps at Troll and Toad, an official Sly Flourish sponsor.

Send feedback to @slyflourish on Twitter or email mike@mikeshea.net.