Sly Flourish

Building the better D&D Dungeon Master.

Your Most Important Game

13 January 2020: Your most important Dungeons & Dragons game is the next one you're going to run. This might be blindingly obvious or it might be completely alien to you. We DMs have big dreams. We have big plans. We ...

Running Ghosts of Saltmarsh Chapter 6: The Final Enemy

6 January 2020: This article is one of a series of articles covering the hardback D&D adventure book, Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Other articles include: Ghosts of Saltmarsh Session Zero Running Ghosts of Saltmarsh Chapter ...

Building Legendary D&D Monsters in your Head

30 December 2019: Here at Sly Flourish I believe firmly in helping DMs develop the tools change up our game without having to spend a lot of time or carry around a lot of extra books. This means learning how to do a lo ...

Balancing D&D Combat for One-on-One Play

23 December 2019: The D&D Essentials Kit includes the first-ever official rules for running D&D with just one player and one DM. This is a whole new style of playing D&D, although some, such as the fine folks behind D& ...

Playing D&D Can Save Your Life

16 December 2019: "Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Loneliness kills." The above quote is from Dr. Robert Waldinger, the caretaker for the Harvard Study of Adult Development, an 80 year study that fo ...

Timing and Pacing Adventures

9 December 2019: Many times when we're running our Dungeons & Dragons adventures, we aren't too worried about time. Sure, our friends need to go home sometime but we can generally stop where we are and start off where ...

Running Ghosts of Saltmarsh Chapter 5, Isle of the Abbey

2 December 2019: This article is one of a series of articles covering the hardback D&D adventure book, Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Other articles include: Ghosts of Saltmarsh Session Zero Running Ghosts of Saltmarsh Chapter ...

The Flow of Trap Detection

25 November 2019: Noticing, studying, and disarming traps is a common activity in Dungeons & Dragons and yet it can be difficult to understand exactly how it works. Likewise, depending on the situation, it can be diffi ...

Running Dragon of Icespire Peak from the D&D Essentials Kit

18 November 2019: This is an evolving article offering tips for running the D&D Essentials Kit adventure Dragon of Icespire Peak. I'll be updating this article as I run the adventures in the book and gain first-hand kn ...

Running Ghosts of Saltmarsh Chapter 4: Salvage Operation

11 November 2019: Warning: This article contains spoilers for Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Chapter 4 of Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Salvage Operation, is the first chapter that isn't part of the actual Saltmarsh series of adventures ...

Kitbashing Dungeons

4 November 2019: While some are quite happy designing their own maps from scratch to run in their D&D games, us lazy dungeon masters are much happier stealing maps wherever we can. The maps in Lazy DM's Workbook are d ...

The Beats of a Dungeon Crawl

28 October 2019: Dungeon crawls are a staple in Dungeons & Dragons games. Ever since the game's creation characters have traversed forgotten hallways accosted by beasts never touched by the sun. Even as D&D's focus ha ...

Building 1st Level Combat Encounters

21 October 2019: No level is more dangerous in Dungeons & Dragons than 1st level. With their low hit points, it isn't uncommon for a 1st level character to go from full hit points to zero in one or two successful hits ...

Running Ghosts of Saltmarsh Chapter 3, Danger at Dunwater

14 October 2019: Warning: This article contains spoilers for Ghosts of Saltmarsh and Danger at Dunwater. Danger at Dunwater, an adventure originally written in 1982 and the second adventure in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, is ...

Adventure Keys

7 October 2019: When I began putting together Sly Flourish's Fantastic Adventures, I had a model for what I wanted to do already in hand. Monte Cook Games had recently released Weird Discoveries, a book of ten short ...

Making Great Handouts

30 September 2019: While not required to run a great Dungeons & Dragons game, great handouts can really draw players into the story of the game. They give the game a tactile feel. They show the players what the world lo ...

Running Downtime Sessions

23 September 2019: Most of our Dungeons & Dragons games focus on exploration, roleplaying, and combat. We typically describe time in minutes and hours for exploration and roleplaying and seconds during combat. Sometimes ...

The Case for Static Monster Damage

16 September 2019: This article has been updated from the original written in November 2015. The Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition Monster Manual includes static damage as the default in every monsters' stat block and ye ...

Running Ghosts of Saltmarsh Chapter 2: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

9 September 2019: Warning: This article contains spoilers for the adventure Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is the first adventure in the Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign adventure book. In this article w ...

DM's Deep Dive with David Christ

3 September 2019: In July 2019 I had the pleasure of speaking with David Chris on the DM's Deep Dive. David Christ is the owner of Baldman Games, the company that runs D&D organized play events at a half-dozen of conve ...

D&D DM Tip Generator

26 August 2019: Over the past ten years, I've been posting a single D&D dungeon master tip each day to Twitter. I've collected these over the years and released them in a single big archive so anyone who wants to use ...

Ghosts of Saltmarsh Session Zero

19 August 2019: Chapter 17 of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master describes the value of running a "session zero" for a new campaign. In a session zero, our players can build their characters together while also discus ...

Learning About the Characters

12 August 2019: The first step for Dungeon & Dragons game prep recommended in Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master is to review the characters. The characters are the primary interface between the players and the world. ...

Two Thugs in the Woods

5 August 2019: Here at Sly Flourish we're big on setting up situations in our Dungeons & Dragons games instead of building pre-determined encounters. Instead of deciding that there are three bandits and two scouts i ...

DM Deep Dive: Monster Design with Jeremy Crawford

29 July 2019: Back in July 2018 I had the great honor to talk with Jeremy Crawford on the DM's Deep Dive. I had neglected to write up the notes for this interview and seek to remedy that problem right now. You can ...

Waterdeep Dragon Heist Chapter 5: The Heist

22 July 2019: This article contains spoilers for Waterdeep Dragon Heist. This is one of a series of articles covering the hardback Dungeons & Dragons adventure Waterdeep Dragon Heist. You can read all of the articl ...

Letters to New and Veteran Dungeon Masters

15 July 2019: We're in an amazing time for our hobby. The number of people playing D&D appears to be roughly doubling every two years. That's a lot of new Dungeons & Dragons dungeon masters coming into the hobby ev ...

Running Waterdeep Dragon Heist Chapter 4: Dragon Season

8 July 2019: Note, this article contains spoilers for Waterdeep Dragon Heist This is one of a series of articles covering the hardback Dungeons & Dragons adventure Waterdeep Dragon Heist. You can read all of the a ...

Lazy Dungeon Master Adventure Prep Template

1 July 2019: One of the nice things about the eight steps for preparing a session of D&D from Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master is that it works with just about any tool you already like to use. If you're a pen-an ...

Running Waterdeep Dragon Heist Chapter 3: Fireball

24 June 2019: Note, this article contains spoilers for Waterdeep Dragon Heist This is one of a series of articles covering the hardback Dungeons & Dragons adventure Waterdeep Dragon Heist. You can read all of the a ...

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