Product Review: Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master
I’m definitely late on finding this one (especially considering this is the “Return,” and I missed the first one), but this is just too good to not talk about and share:
Sly Flourish’s “Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master” might be the best Gamemaster toolset for helping experienced GMs hone their craft. Seriously, the superlative here cannot be overstated.
A while ago, I picked up the set of Lazy DM books and spent a weekend reading through them. They’re written for GMs who have at least a campaign under their belt, so these aren’t for newcomer GMs. These books are for the GMs who have tried, failed, succeeded, and keep coming back for more. How can we improve our games, improve our preparation, and become more confident in running games?
Mike Shea (aka Sly Flourish) centers his books around a simple checklist of 8 steps to follow while preparing your games. At the heart of this checklist is that you prepare only the content that you need for that session. It can be a daunting task for any GM who loves drilling down into the particulars of every combat and roleplaying encounter, but Mike provides easy-to-follow explanations and examples for every bit of advice that he lays out. He even includes a full set of plots hooks, locations, and notes for an adventure, showing his techniques in practice.
The final product of the Lazy DM book plus the Workbook makes for a fantastic guide that’s easy to reference and quick to process. It’s hard to oversell this one—it’s seriously good and well worth the $20 or so to grab the digital books. I’ve started implementing Mike’s techniques for all of my RPG prep, including for IRIS and for Dungeons & Dragons home games. Even for those sessions where I still over-prepare, the Lazy DM techniques provide an excellent framework for getting my mind into the right space.
I’m focusing more on my players, thinking through the locations I want my group to visit, and piecing together how I’m going to reveal information to the players.