Slyflourish Twitter Archive 3/28/09 – 4/18/09

While Sly Flourish the web blog will focus on bringing you an article a week focused on making your D&D 4th Edition game better, that’s not the only place we’ll provide tips. Subscribe to for two D&D 4th Edition DM Tips a day. Below is an archive of these tweets from the beginning of the twitter feed until tonight.

Beginning next week, I will post a new Sly Flourish Twitter Archive each Thursday morning.

Let the tweets begin…

Describe a character’s final blow in gory detail. Get the flavor of the power to make it more authentic. #dnd

Build an NPC 3×5 card with DCs for Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Perception, Insight, History. Make NPCs a small skill challenge. #dnd

*Trollhaunt spoiler* Give Skalmad a range sight burst 3 version of his burning eye to watch your players scramble. He needs the boost. #dnd

When battling a Invoker, don’t let those summoned angels sit too close to your BBEG – three minor action attacks can hurt! Kill them!

Use colored pipe cleaners to show zones on a battle board. #dnd

Use +1 tokens as rewards for players who finish turns quickly. They’re usable only on the next round. Call it a “momentum bonus”. #dnd

From Robin’s Laws: Can you describe your adventure or campaign story seed in a sentence? If not, simplify it. Let the players grow it. #dnd

Want a richer villain? Visualize yourself seeing through his eyes. What does he want? Where is he going? What will he do? What is his POV?

Asmor’s Math Cruncher is a great way to build fast NPC stats. Keep it handy! I’d sure love a paper chart version. #dnd

New article on Sly Flourish: Build your 4e Adventure Checklist

Start with a bang. Write out your nightly adventure intro and read it with flair. It marks the beginning of a great game.

In a panic trying to figure out what events I should go to at Gencon. Are there any blogger events going on? What games are you looking at?

Use modified house rules on specific monsters just to try it out. For Berserker Troglodytes, double damage and half HP. #dnd

@newbiedm I’m not sure anyone is having a perfect time with Skill Challenges – they’re hard to do right. Shorter is better, usually.

Success or failure conditions for #dnd Skill Challenges aren’t enough. Make players AWARE of the impact so they have something to work for.

Tough minion house rules: minions deal 1 damage per level, can save vs auto damage kills, and have damage resist = level – discuss.

Our DM today showed a scene from Aladin as a vision of the opening of a tomb. A D&D; game really can be a multimedia experience!

The Last of the Mohican’s soundtrack makes for great inspirational in-game or preparation music. Itunes link:

@NukeHavoc I avoid calling out minions or skill challenges in my game. I prefer to describe the scene rather than describing the mechanics.

One option for marking miniatures so you know which orc is orc 4 is a silver paint marker. A less destructive one might be a twist-tie flag.

@BerinKinsman it may be time for some 4e hacks – more dangerous solos and faster combat being two.

Get some excellent miniature terrain at your local pet or aquarium store.

For a change of pace, run an encounter with no map and no minis. Describe the situation and do the battle in your heads, old school.

Have a large group of players? Have two players roll dice at a time. Occasionally the first move negates the second but its rare.

A good way to challenge a party is to put the BBEG at the end of a five-encounter stretch without an extended rest.

@gamefiend as a DM, dual classing makes it harder and harder to keep up with the powergamers. Especially with such gimpy solos.

@gamefiend Three top BBEG criteria: threatening (meaning not just a solo but solo + friends), hated, has clear motivation (hero in his mind)

When running modules, read a few modules ahead to insert story seeds into earlier adventures. Introduce the Trollhaunt prince seed in KotS.

Hit the Party Store after Halloween for some great cheap D&D; physical props. I found a great gray skull with hair for Vyrellis in PoS

What element can you add to your next game to really draw in one of your players? Big tactical battle? Good RP encounter? A devious puzzle?

For Illuminatus fans, I posted two of my father’s (Robert J. Shea’s) books: The Saracen 1 & 2:

@BerinKinsman One line 4e NPC: Name, init, speed, hp AC Fort Ref Will +attack. Pull damage from DMG page 42 or DM Screen.

Don’t be afraid to physically re-enact some monster’s attack at the table. Physical comedy leads to spontaneous roleplaying.

The Wizards art gallery is a great place to find and print pictures of NPCs to show to your players. Helps them remember.

Probably too early to say, but is there going to be an RPG blogger meet up at Gencon this year?

Interesting article on D&D; solitare. More philosophy than technique:

Need ways to play D&D; quick with just two people. DDM: 4e lite: Blades and Heroes:

@milambus Storing minis in Container Store plastic shoe-boxes works well. Shallow boxes help you find the right mini.

Strip down your campaign thread to whatever your players can possibly remember. That detailed intricate plot is meaningless if unremembered.

Insider tip for making solos more deadly: It’s not the solo, its the five guys who attack the party AFTER the solo. The solo burns dailies.

solution to Hospitaler’s Boon seems to be piling up on additional creatures with your solo. In short, 4e “solos” shouldn’t really be solo.

According to Wizards, the dragon errors are in the D&D; Compendium and the Monster manual is correct.

Discovered that dragons aren’t up to date in the Monster Manual and are not officially Errata’d. Check that DDI Compendium before play!

large 1 gal or 2 gal zip lock bags work very well for storing D&D; Dungeon Tiles. Keep each set separate so you can sort pieces quickly.

New pics from tonight’s game. Cut up 3×5 cards draped on the DM screen work really well for initiative. See the pics. #DND

Only three players tonight. Thanks to the “quick build” in the DDI Character Builder and Dungeon Delve, I can still have a game! #dnd

Tip: use ziploc bags to store pencils, mark rings, and each encounter worth of minis. I like the ones with the zipper on them.

had a good talk about skill challenges. The success of good skill challenges comes with specificity. Give them clear options. Thoughts?

Getting some excellent results from the Robin Laws quiz: Turns out most of the group are tacticians. Advice?

built a Robin Laws player matrix last night for my current game. Here’s a handy quiz to help figure your players out:

Just when you think you have enough Dwarven Forge pieces, you see this: I do have a birthday coming up.

Cut up some old black t-shirts to act as fog of war for my Dwarven Forge setup. Thank you twice, Eddie Bauer!

Setting up Dwarven Forge caverns for next Trollhaunt game. Do realistic tiles help or hurt immersion? Discuss.

#dnd Just posted my first Sly Flourish article, “Building a Campaign Box”: “Creative Habit” is a great book for DMs.

considering nerfing “Hospitaler Blessing”. As written, it removes nearly all solo creature damage. Change to: once per turn.

re-reading to shorten 4e combat. My untested thought: 50% hps, +2 attack, + 2x damage on some monsters.

Writing up Stone Cauldron lore for King of the Trollhaunt Warrens. Use copper-colored fine parchment resume paper to make notes look old.

Cheap tip for initiative. Cut 3×5 cards in half, write char names on both sides, drape over DM Screen. Use arrow card for init direction.


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