Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master
The suggestions presented in Mike Shea (Sly Flourish)’s book The Lazy Dungeon Master have had a bigger impact on how I prepare to run RPGs than any of the official Dungeons & Dragons books. Don’t get me wrong, I reference the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual every session, but The Lazy DM helped me work out how to prepare and what to prepare.
It’s a year since I purchased The Lazy DM. Mike Shea is currently running a very successful Kickstarter for a follow-up volume, Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master. When I say it’s been very successful, I mean that Mike has met all the planned stretch goals, made some new stretch goals, beat them, and decided against adding more stretch goals.
Running a game can take so much preparation. You may put hours into preparing a game only to have your players the game in a direction you didn’t plan for. In fact, over-preparing can lead you into running games where you force the story to follow a particular direction because you’ve invested too many hours of preparation into a particular storyline.
Mike’s approach is a smart and simple way to minimise preparation, freeing yourself up for a more improvised and collaborative game where you really are cooperating with your players to tell a story. Thanks to this approach, these days my notes are often just a small pile of index cards, each with a few notes about an NPC, a location, a quest or a monster. I can easily shuffle through them depending on what ends up being needed.
In Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, Mike has refined his Lazy DM approach and tailored it for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Because the Kickstarter has gone so well, backers will also be getting some extra resources that are also intended to help DMs run games with less (and smarter) preparation:
- a printable Lazy DM workbook full of sheets to help you keep track of characters and prepare things like traps, magic items, random encounters so they’re on hand when needed
- Lazy Lairs – ten lairs that you can easily drop into a lot of different adventures, complete with maps (by Daniel Walthall, Derek Ruiz, and Miska Fredman) and one-page descriptions.
The Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master Kickstarter runs until March 10. You can back for just US$8 if you only want the PDF version or US$13 if you want the option of buying a print copy at cost price. Delivery is expected in November.
You can find the Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master Kickstarter here.
You can have a look at the table of contents and some sample chapters here.
Mike also posts a lot of helpful DMing advice and research on his blog and on his Twitter.