Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master.

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 ...

On Writing Adventures

17 June 2019: I've recently been doing a lot of adventure writing, the results of which you can find in the Fantastic Adventures: Ruins of the Grendleroot Kickstarter. As part of this project, I wanted to dig deep ...

Fantastic Adventures: Ruins of the Grendleroot Kickstarter

10 June 2019: Last week I launched the Kickstarter for Fantastic Adventures: Ruins of the Grendleroot. You can learn all about it on the Kickstarter's page, of course, but for those of you who frequent Sly Flourish ...

The Old Man and the Bowl

3 June 2019: Leavold Goldenfingers worked his magic. Across the icy rocks of his home, high up in the Spine of the World, the sound of his tiny hammer clinking on the golden bowl echoed across the mountains. His ...

D&D Tips from the 2018 D&D Open: Gangs of Waterdeep

28 May 2019: In the summer of 2018 at Origins, Wizards of the Coast and the D&D Adventurer's League ran the D&D Open, a multi-table competition-based D&D adventure called "Gangs of Waterdeep" as a preview to their ...

Choosing the Right Steps from the Lazy DM Checklist

20 May 2019: Chapter 12 of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master describes ways to reduce the eight steps of RPG preparation down to the ones that matter the most for your game. This list changes depending on the type ...

Running Waterdeep Dragon Heist Chapter 2: Trollskull Alley

13 May 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 ...

Handling Missing Players

6 May 2019: Of all of the things required to run a great Dungeons & Dragons game none is harder than getting a group together regularly to play. Finding and maintaining a group is the biggest hurtle for Dungeons ...

Wolfgang Baur on Worldbuilding

29 April 2019: In the March 2019 episode of the DM's Deep Dive I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Dungeons & Dragons and RPG luminary Wolfgang Baur who is currently the Kobold-in-Chief at Kobold Press the mo ...

Thoughts on the Finale of Tomb of Annihilation

22 April 2019: Warning, this article contains spoilers for Tomb of Annihilation. This is the final article of a number of articles discussing the Dungeons & Dragons hardback campaign adventure Tomb of Annihilation. ...

How to Read Your D&D Books

15 April 2019: "A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone." - Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones Over the past year, this topic has shown up in lots of other articles here at Sly Flourish and many of my DM ...

Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master Video Series

8 April 2019: Over the past year I've been recording my own game preparation using the eight steps from Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master. I broadcast these these shows live on Twitch Sundays at 10am EST and then p ...

Building for the Three Pillars

1 April 2019: If you read deeply into Tomb of Annihilation and Dungeon of the Mad Mage, you'll notice that Wizards of the Coast has avoided a common problem in older adventures. Older adventures often focused on ro ...

Gaining Confidence to Run D&D Games

25 March 2019: A while back I asked newer DMs on Twitter to describe the hard parts they encountered when running running D&D games. I got back a lot of interesting responses many of which focused on learning the ru ...

View All Articles