Laidback DM – Pathfinder 2e Product Reviews

I went a bit crazy and bought all of the Pathfinder 2e products currently available. Here’s a short review of some of them. Pathfinder 2e Gamemaster’s Screen A strong, 4-panel GM screen with great art and useful tables and reminders: conditions, actions, DCs, death and dying, monster types, etc. P2 is a rules-heavy system, andContinue reading “Laidback DM – Pathfinder 2e Product Reviews”

Laidback DM – Descent into Avernus review

I was sooooooo looking forward to getting this adventure. But like so many things in life, the experience didn’t quite live up to the expectation. I’m not going to explain the storyline—by now you would have read the advertising blurb. Descent into Avernus is a campaign adventure for characters levels 1-13. It has great art,Continue reading “Laidback DM – Descent into Avernus review”

Laidback DM: Weapon and Armor Durability

I know what you’re going to say—in D&D it’s so much easier not to have to worry about weapons getting damaged. But what happens when they do? And how do you have a simple (or laidback, as I prefer to call it) system that doesn’t bog down the game? Here’s my personal take on weaponContinue reading “Laidback DM: Weapon and Armor Durability”

Laidback DM – One-Page Dungeon Competition 2019 Winner

Hi all I was one of the winners of the 2019 One Page Dungeon competition at I used one of my old adventures from Shotglass Adventures volume 1, which is available in print and PDF from DrivethruRPG (see the link below). Here’s a copy of the adventure I submitted, which you can download byContinue reading “Laidback DM – One-Page Dungeon Competition 2019 Winner”

Laidback DM: Treasure Alternatives

All too often, treasure seems to be the major incentive for PCs to complete missions and quests in fantasy role playing games. So what about something else just as beneficial? Here’s some ideas for things that are just as useful as mo money, that could be offered as alternative rewards for jobs: An ongoing discountContinue reading “Laidback DM: Treasure Alternatives”

Laidback DM: Keeping Secrets

Are you one of those DMs who finds it hard keeping secrets from your players? This may be the case if you see your players regularly, through work, school or at the pub, and enjoy talking about your game. You may find it’s hard not to blurt out some spoilers. But think about it. SpoilersContinue reading “Laidback DM: Keeping Secrets”

Laidback DM: Alignments in Games

Alignments are a leftover from the days of old school role playing. Originally there were three—Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Then Mr. Gygax decided in AD&D that he’d spice it up a little by adding Good, Neutral and Evil suffixes to provide a bit more clarity. But are alignments necessary in a D&D game? Players andContinue reading “Laidback DM: Alignments in Games”

Laidback DM: Playing in the Sandbox

So what exactly is a sandbox? And how does it relate to RPGs? ‘Sandboxing’ is where you let your players loose in the world to do whatever they want. Give them a map and they decide where they go and what they do. Consequently, the world is built around their actions. It’s a bit likeContinue reading “Laidback DM: Playing in the Sandbox”

Laidback DM: Saving Throws – the Nat 20 Bonus

So you scored a natural 20 on that saving throw? Awesome. You passed. Doesn’t sound as great when you think about it, now does it. But what if you got something a little extra to celebrate with? Here’s some ideas that won’t break the rule bank. Obviously you only get to choose one of theseContinue reading “Laidback DM: Saving Throws – the Nat 20 Bonus”

Splitting the Party: strength in numbers? Nah!!

Every time I GM an RPG, whether it be D&D, Stars Without Number, Numenera, Kids On Bikes or another genre, the players take it upon themselves to split their party because some want to do one thing and others want to do another (usually because strong personalities compete). And every time they do it, theContinue reading “Splitting the Party: strength in numbers? Nah!!”

Fantasy Maps – hand drawn vs. digital

I’m a huge fan of maps. I draw lots of them, and occasionally give them away free on this site. But I’m a bit old school when it comes to my preferences. I love hand drawn maps, but I’m not a fan of digital maps. Why don’t I like fully digitally created maps? They takeContinue reading “Fantasy Maps – hand drawn vs. digital”

Flanking: Good Team Work or Unbalancing the Game?

Flanking is an optional rule in D&D 5e, generally used with miniatures (although you can also use it in theater-of-the-mind combat if you want—I do). Flanking is where two or more miniatures ‘surround’ another (which we’ll call the 3rd), on directly opposite sides. The theory is that the 2nd miniature is distracting the 3rd whileContinue reading “Flanking: Good Team Work or Unbalancing the Game?”

Shotglass Adventures 2 Preview

Hi all, Here’s a little preview of the adventures and contents of SA2, currently on Kickstarter! The adventures are for D&D Fifth Edition (the current version of the game) and Old School Revival (OSR) games like Swords and Wizardry, OSRIC, White Box and Dungeon Crawl Classics (to name a few). Here’s a taste: I’ve uppedContinue reading “Shotglass Adventures 2 Preview”

Connectable Town Maps Volumes 1 & 2 and Maps for Fantasy RPGs available now!

Connectable Town Maps Volumes 1 & 2 Ever had your players wander into one of those random towns along the road and start raising a ruckus, just because they could? I have. Players are nothing if not unpredictable. In fact, they’re predictably unpredictable. That’s why I put together these little maps packages – Connectable TownContinue reading “Connectable Town Maps Volumes 1 & 2 and Maps for Fantasy RPGs available now!”

Shotglass Adventures available now in Print and PDF!

Hi All! SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES, my first D&D 5e/Old School Revolution (OSR) role playing game book, is now available at DrivethruRPG, the world’s largest online role playing game store. SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES is published under the OGL and compatible with 5e and other OSR fantasy role playing games. Inside this 52-page book you’ll find: 10 ‘adventure-on-a-page’ one-shotContinue reading “Shotglass Adventures available now in Print and PDF!”

Laidback DM: Condition Cards, Initiative Cards and Critical Fumble Cards

Hi All I’ve started selling some products on, the biggest seller of online role playing game PDFs in the world! My intention is to release more products onto the site for 5e and OSR gamers, including Shotglass Adventures, once the Kickstarter is completed. My handy Initiative Cards are a no-fuss turn order tracker, whetherContinue reading “Laidback DM: Condition Cards, Initiative Cards and Critical Fumble Cards”

Laidback DM: Trading Places

During long campaigns, some players might not turn up for sessions, some might retire, new players will join. There are good reasons for changes in your ongoing cast—work and family commitments, sports, meetings and significant events in peoples’ lives. And some players just move on because your game might not be what they’re looking for.Continue reading “Laidback DM: Trading Places”

Laidback DM: Have Merc(er)y on Me

Matt Mercer hosts Critical Role on YouTube, one of the many D&D online channels that have helped propel the game’s popularity into the stratosphere, and is arguably one of the best DMs around. A trained voice actor, he has a wonderful storytelling ability and excels at immersive and engaging story telling. And for the restContinue reading “Laidback DM: Have Merc(er)y on Me”

Laidback DM: Avoiding The TPK

As DMs, we’ve all done it at some time or other: we’ve killed the entire party and drained the fun out of the D&D session. Sometimes it’s unintentional, sometimes it’s mean spirited, sometimes it’s to punish players for being complete d$&@s. But no matter how you look at it, the Total Party Kill (TPK) isContinue reading “Laidback DM: Avoiding The TPK”

Free Map! The Living Tower of Moka-Shul

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for D&D adventures. I have far too many, though, so I give them away any chance I get. This week: The Living Tower of Moka-Shul! So, who is this Moka-Shul guy anyway? And what’s the go with his living tower? Well, I picture Moka-Shul as aContinue reading “Free Map! The Living Tower of Moka-Shul”

The Laidback DM: Murder Hobos vs. Negotiators

Is your party the kind that prefers to fight their way through a role playing game encounter (known in the trade as ‘Murder Hobos’)? Or one that likes to talk to the bad guys, using their role playing ability or character’s skills to get out of a tough spot (negotiators)? I believe players that preferContinue reading “The Laidback DM: Murder Hobos vs. Negotiators”

Dragon’s Ahoy! Like Chips Ahoy, but with less chocolate…

Time for another of my Laidback DM posts, and a new free map! I love drawing maps for D&D adventures. I have far too many, though, so I’m giving them away every chance I get. This week: Dragon’s Lair! This large cave system has a number of shelves that vary the level of the terrainContinue reading “Dragon’s Ahoy! Like Chips Ahoy, but with less chocolate…”

It’s about time for a free Dungeon Map!

Time for another of my (currently) irregular Laidback DM posts, and a new free map! Map drawing for D&D adventures is my thang. I have far too many maps, so I’m giving them away every chance I get. This week: Border Keep! Reminiscent of the original Gary Gygax classic D&D Keep on the Borderlands castle,Continue reading “It’s about time for a free Dungeon Map!”

The Laidback DM #11 – Free Dungeon Map!

Yes, it’s that time of the week, and in the tradition of my irregular Laidback DM posts, here’s a new free map. I really enjoy drawing maps (nerd alert!) for D&D adventures, so much so that I have more maps then I know what to do with. So, I’m giving one away free on myContinue reading “The Laidback DM #11 – Free Dungeon Map!”

The Laid Back DM #5 – Foiled again!

Trap tips for DMs of Dungeons and Dragons! Don’t let those player characters foil you again…

The Laid Back DM #3 – Maps and random encounters?!

Welcome to my occasional series on Dungeons and Dragons (D&D)* refereeing (makes it sound like a sport, doesn’t it? Well it is, my friends: a sport of the mind. Okay, that sounded better before I read it out loud…). Here’s some more time saving stuff: No random encounters – hold on a second?! Didn’t IContinue reading “The Laid Back DM #3 – Maps and random encounters?!”

The Laid Back DM #2 – New-fangled Electronic Gizmos?

Welcome to the second of my Dungeon Master (DM) columns. (Didn’t catch the first one? Click here.) Today I’m going to talk about all these new wiz-bang apps and stuff that you can use during your sessions. (“What did he say?” Says the old grognard, raising his ear trumpet. “What’s an app? Is that someContinue reading “The Laid Back DM #2 – New-fangled Electronic Gizmos?”

The Laid Back DM #1 – Empowerment

I’m a Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) fan from way back. I’ve learned a few things over time as a Dungeon Master (DM). Over the next few weeks I’m going to be posting irregularly about DM’ing. Here’s a few things to get the ball rolling (or should that be dice rolling? Okay, crap joke).

When Good Dungeon Masters Go Bad

Have you ever played a game where the referee just doesn’t know what they’re doing? In D&D, it’s the type who rolls up (pun intended) to the game with no preparation, no rule books, no dice and very little clue. I experienced a game like that the other night.