I have not been behind a DM screen since my group’s final session a few months ago. There are certainly aspects of gaming on a regular basis that I miss. Creating a world and watching players inhabit that domain and make it their own is a great source of joy. On the other hand – I must be honest and say I do not miss the hours of mental and physical preparation to run each new session, which was often fueled by a combination of desperation and anxiety!
Writing this blog over the past two years has been a method of teaching myself to be a better DM. By organizing my thoughts on any given topic, it forces me to think about how and why I am doing any given thing while sitting at the table with the players. If my thoughts have helped someone else as they go along their journey as a DM, then that makes me happy. But I never set out to create a comprehensive tome to instruct DMs on how to run gaming sessions without investing tireless hours on preparation.
Mike Shea has done such a thing with Sly Flourish’s The Lazy Dungeon Master.
As the name implies, Mike instructs DMs on how to become lazier. Below, I review his book and discuss why his strategies and guidelines for game preparation and management are worthy of your time. I end with a brief interview with Mike Shea and Jimi Bonogofsky, the talented artist who created the cover art and one of the winners of this year’s Iddy The Lich Art Contest.
The Lazy Dungeon Master
For those unfamiliar with Mike Shea (who are you people?), he has been posting tips for D&D 4th Edition through his blog, Sly Flourish, and publishing official articles for Wizards of the Coast. He is also hosting approximately 37 podcasts (rough estimate) including Critical Hits and The Tome Show. He has played, written and spoken about D&D a great deal. His book is not simply shaped by his personal opinions; it is informed by communication with game designers and other experienced DMs and something near and dear to my heart – data.
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