Sly Flourish

Building the better Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master.

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 th ...

Running Waterdeep Dragon Heist Chapter 1, A Friend In Need

18 March 2019: Waterdeep Dragon Heist is a different kind of adventure than other hardback adventures. This is a more focused adventure in two ways: it only takes characters up to level five and it takes place almos ...

DM Deep Dive with Adam Koebel on Dungeon World

11 March 2019: Back in November 2018 I had the great pleasure to talk with Adam Koebel, a co-creator of the mind-blowing RPG Dungeon World, to talk about his game and what it meant for D&D. You can watch the who ...

Revealing Secrets

4 March 2019: Chapter 6 of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master focuses on defining secrets and clues in our D&D games. In many ways secrets and clues are the anchor of the 8-step game preparation process in Retur ...

Revised 5e D&D Cheat Sheet

25 February 2019: Back when Fantastic Locations came out we released a one-page campaign worksheet intended to help DMs focus on the characters and have a bit of a cheat sheet at the same time. It's served well but it ...

Session Zero of Waterdeep Dragon Heist

18 February 2019: Note, this article contains spoilers for Waterdeep Dragon Heist. Running a session zero for any new campaign offers many benefits. Session zeros help us and our players all get on the same page about ...

Always Be Learning

11 February 2019: Great DMs are always refining their craft. We are not static beings. We learn. We adapt. We don't throw away our decades of past experiences when a new idea comes along. We use those experiences as ou ...

Throwing Away Secrets

4 February 2019: I often receive questions both from readers of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master and those watching my Lazy DM Prep videos regarding throwing away secrets from session to session. For many people, thi ...

Converting Vault of the Dracolich to Fifth Edition D&D

28 January 2019: This article has been updated since the original published in April 2014. Back in 2013, Teos Abadia, Scott Fitzgerald Gray, and I all worked on the adventure Vault of the Dracolich. This adventure was ...

The Deadly Shift of Tomb of Annihilation

22 January 2019: Warning, this article contains spoilers for Tomb of Annihilation. This article is one in a series of artices I wrote for running the D&D hardcover adventure Tomb of Annihilation. You can find link ...

Facing Insurmountable Foes

14 January 2019: In the beginning of Hoard of the Dragon Queen the characters face off against Lennithon, an adult blue dragon, when the characters are likely level 1. It doesn't take any powerful encounter building t ...

Storytelling with Spells: Fireball

7 January 2019: This is the first in a new series of articles that focuses on how particular spells in D&D can tell stories all by themselves. The core D&D books are full of fantastic ideas for stories but so ...

Playing Dungeons & Dragons On A Budget

31 December 2018: One of the interesting things about Dungeons & Dragons is the incredibly wide range for its potential costs. The cost to play D&D can go anywhere from free to potentially thousands of dollars ...

Adventure Hooks

24 December 2018: In an interview on D&D Beyond, legendary adventure writer Chris Perkins describes the requirements for a solid adventure: Good villains and monsters. A location for the adventure to take place. A ...

Running Omu

17 December 2018: This article is one in a series of artices I wrote for running the D&D hardcover adventure Tomb of Annihilation. You can find links to all of the articles below: Session Zero of Tomb of Annihilat ...

D&D's Nastier Specials

10 December 2018: I love the roleplaying game 13th Age by Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet. Written as a love-letter to D&D by two designers who worked on two different editions of D&D, 13th Age has some of my fa ...

Easier Initiative Cards

3 December 2018: Note, this article has been updated since the original written in 2012. Many DMs like to use tent cards hanging over a DM screen to run initiative and this is a fantastic way to do it. There are a few ...

Generating Enhanced Tomb Guardians

26 November 2018: This article is one in a series of artices I wrote for running the D&D hardcover adventure Tomb of Annihilation. You can find links to all of the articles below: Session Zero of Tomb of Annihilat ...

Running Meaningful Random Encounters

19 November 2018: In a previous article on Sly Flourish we talked about the value of randomness and creativity in D&D and breaking conventional thought with random tables. Randomness is obviously a big part of the ...

Why I Love Madness

13 November 2018: As part of the work we did on the Lazy Dungeon Master's Workbook, I surveyed the Kickstarter backers of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master and asked them which references, charts, and tables they found ...

Our Ability Check Toolbox

5 November 2018: The more we focus on the story of D&D, the more ability checks will likely come into play as a main mechanic when characters interact with the world around them. Asking for checks and getting the ...

The Hunger: A Level 1 to 20 Gnoll Campaign

29 October 2018: Reading Volo's Guide to Monsters, along with the Monster Manual is a fantastic way to fill our head with D&D lore that helps us plan our games and improvise while we're running them. If you get no ...

Handling Tag-Along NPCs

22 October 2018: This article is one in a series of artices I wrote for running the D&D hardcover adventure Tomb of Annihilation. You can find links to all of the articles below: Session Zero of Tomb of Annihilat ...

Running Ravenloft

12 October 2018: Note: This article has been updated since its original version published in November 2012. Published in 1983, the classic D&D adventure I6 Ravenloft, was ranked in 2004 by Dungeon magazine as the ...

A New Dungeon Master's Guide For Building Encounters

8 October 2018: Note: This article is reposed with permission from the original posted to D&D Beyond on March 2018. It is the sixth in a six-part series of articles focused on helping new D&D DMs put together ...

Giving Characters Hard Choices

1 October 2018: Dungeons & Dragons is a game full of choices. From running campaigns to running characters, from steering world-shaking events to choosing an approach while having a conversation with a merchant, ...

A New DM's Guide to Miniatures

24 September 2018: Note: This article is reposed with permission from the original posted to D&D Beyond on March 2018. It is the fifth of a series of articles focused on helping new D&D DMs put together and run ...

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