Michael Erik Shea is a writer, gamer, technologist, and webmaster. Mike primarily writes about the tabletop role playing game Dungeons and Dragons. Sly Flourish is a website where he builds better D&D dungeon masters. He has also wrote a number books on Dungeons and Dragons including Sly Flourish’s Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master which we’ll be reviewing on this page.
From the blurb:
Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master is a book designed to help all of us GMs get more out of our RPGs by preparing less. Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master uses the experiences of thousands of GMs to help us focus on how we prepare our games, how we run our games, and how we think about our games. It includes practical steps for focusing our preparation activities on those things that will bring the biggest impact to our game.
Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master builds off of the concepts of the well-received GM’s guidebook Lazy Dungeon Master, updating that book with five years of new experiences, new approaches, and new observations of the way people prepare and run RPGs. This new book is a completely self-contained work, which does not require anyone to have previously read The Lazy Dungeon Master.Amazon.com
With over 1,600 reviews on Amazon, it’s easy to see why he’s such a trusted name in the tabletop RPG market. One reviewer on Amazon went as far as to say, “As or possibly more important than the DMG.” That’s a powerful statement and a testament to how much people value the Lazy Dungeon Master series. Yes, it’s more than one book, so it’s a series in my world.
Not all Amazon reviews are positive, of course, which is good news. Some people just have different opinions!
Not as helpful as the first Lazy Dungeon Master book.
Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2018
The book offers more insight and expands upon the system implemented from the first book. There is a checklist of eight steps in this book for session building vs four from the last one. Overall the theme of the book seems to “you need to do more than I said you should do in the last book.”
There aren’t any additional helpful tables in this book. I was a big fan of the “Here’s 20 random npc names to use in your game” table in the back as well as additional quick guides. This book has options and references regarding outside resources, but nothing specific to the book.
Overall it’s an okay book. I’d recommend reading the first Lazy Dungeon Master over this one and I would only recommend this one to anyone who thought that the first book didn’t flesh out the ideas as much as they would have liked.Source: Amazon Review
Lazy and Cheap … er, Thrifty Dungeon Master?
Check out my softcover tabletop resource series on Amazon!
Here’s another more positive review. I’m clipping it, but go read some of the reviews yourself if you want more assurances on this reference book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best D&D supplement going…?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 17, 2020
The Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master is a real gem of a book. Fantasy Roleplaying is a huge market these days, and there are countless titles out there to choose from, by both long-established companies and small independents.
Where on Earth do you start? Well, no matter what game system you’re playing, the Lazy DM is an absolute godsend.
It’s ostensibly written for D&D 5E, but the advice within its 90-odd pages is universal. It’s also written specifically for DMs, though there’s plenty in there to give players food for thought, too.
In essence, it’s a slim tome of wise counsel. Fledgling DMs need to hear it, as do the long-established and certainly the set-in-their-ways. This book isn’t just a time saver; it will boost the enjoyment and enthusiasm of both you and your players a thousandfold.
Michael E Shea gets to the crux of what’s important both in terms of preparing and running a session. Instead of wasting hours planning elaborate encounters your players will probably bypass and never see, or, even worse, be forced into kicking and screaming as you impose your precious set piece upon them, Shea’s advice is to only prep the things that really make a difference. Relax. Trust. Enjoy.Source: Amazon Review
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Overall, this book is a strong MUST BUY from me. While I create and publish my own D&D content, Sly Flourish is a trusted, go-to source for all things tabletop.