As a DM, I like to have dungeon and cavern system maps on hand just in case my players like to…wander. Come on, you know they do. One minute they’re traveling overland to the next adventure you meticulously planned and wrote and the next they’re checking out the caves on the low lying ridge youContinue reading “MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 2: MEGA-DUNGEON in Digital and Print!”

Advice for the Young at Heart…Stuff for Beginner DMs

I see a lot of Tweets asking about advice for new Dungeon Masters (DMs) or Games Masters (GMs) – which I will henceforth refer to as DMs. Rather than answer the plethora of questions there, I thought I’d do one consolidated response here. A caveat before I begin: even though I am what you wouldContinue reading “Advice for the Young at Heart…Stuff for Beginner DMs”

Free Map: Behir Caves

Time for a free, hand drawn map! This one has no grid, perfect for Roll20 / Fantasy Grounds! Behir Caves I originally made this map quickly for a side-mission for my Phandelver’s Pact ongoing D&D 5e campaign (if you want, you can follow that group’s adventures on Twitter). At one point they lost their treasureContinue reading “Free Map: Behir Caves”

NEW Shotglass Rounds Adventures available on DrivethruRPG!

Need a One-shot Adventure for your next D&D 5e session? SHOTGLASS ROUNDS are one-and-done, no fuss, no prep adventures for the busy DM. Lights, camera, maps, ACTION! From Laidback DM, winner of the 2019 and 2020 One Page Dungeon Contests. And for more Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg by clicking the link:

Free Fantasy Map – Cult Temple

As you may or may not know, I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures, and it just so happens this map is 1750 x 1750 (24 squares), perfect for Roll20 / Fantasy Grounds! AND the temple’s floor tiles are conveniently 5 ft. squares… Cult Temple There’s a pesky little cult that has takenContinue reading “Free Fantasy Map – Cult Temple”

Free Fantasy Map – Dragon Cave

This hand-drawn map comes in grid or grid-less versions, perfect for face-to-face games or Roll20 / Fantasy Grounds! Who doesn’t love a big old cave for a big old dragon? And what’s more, if you’re using the online grid-less version you can make the cave any size and the dragon any size so you canContinue reading “Free Fantasy Map – Dragon Cave”

2020 One Page Dungeon Contest Winner!

Hi all, I tied for first place in the 2020 One Page Dungeon Contest! Aside from winning some money and some nice RPG swag, I get to bask humbly in my own appreciation for a few days lol! This is the second time I’ve won – my 2019 entry was a joint winner. Here’s myContinue reading “2020 One Page Dungeon Contest Winner!”

Laidback DM: Dragon Warriors Review

I don’t have a lot of free time nowadays, but I ordered this game from DrivethruRPG and thought I’d (finally) post a review of it. Dragon Warriors is an English TTRPG first published as a series of paperbacks back in the mid-80s. Serpent King Games has reprinted the 2006 revival of that original game, whichContinue reading “Laidback DM: Dragon Warriors Review”

Shotglass Adventures: Mined Games Now in Print!

Shotglass Adventures – Kal-Zar’s Bane 2: Mined Games is now available in print, PDF and as a Digital Maps Package from DrivethruRPG. Gravis Town is locked down as the Kal-Zar’s Bane virus runs rampant. A journal found in a lost shipyard provides the location of the long-hidden library of Kal-Zar Ro. The party must travelContinue reading “Shotglass Adventures: Mined Games Now in Print!”

Murder on the Dance Floor – Dealing with Dissent in TRPG Games

What do you do when players cause dissent in your game? (And believe me, even if it hasn’t happened in one of your games yet, it WILL happen.) Here’s a few suggestions: Establishing Ground Rules Make sure you set ground rules about behaviour in your session zero, such as being respectful of others, allowing everyoneContinue reading “Murder on the Dance Floor – Dealing with Dissent in TRPG Games”

Brutal Damage in DnD 5e

Some people (oldies and grognards, like me) remember when D&D was a lot more lethal for player characters (PCs). 5e changed all that. Now players have a suitably comfortable time with only a few chances of actually dying in a campaign (players don’t really like their characters dying unless its part of a game-changing eventContinue reading “Brutal Damage in DnD 5e”

Free Map – Old Becomes New…

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can. This map is grid-less, perfect for Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds! This week: New Thundertree My regular Phandelver’s Pact campaign saw the destruction ofContinue reading “Free Map – Old Becomes New…”

Laidback DM: Free Map – Road to an Underdark Library

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can. This week: The Only Way is Up The only way is up in this week’s gridless map (ideal for virtual tabletops like Roll20Continue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map – Road to an Underdark Library”

Laidback DM: OP Characters and the Players Who Love Them

Every DM knows one. Some know many. What am I talking about? Players who spend their lives working out the best options to make themselves the most powerful (or “optimised”) characters in the game. But is there anything wrong with that? Here’s some pros and cons you might want to think about, followed by someContinue reading “Laidback DM: OP Characters and the Players Who Love Them”

Laidback DM: Free Map!

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can. This one is grid-less, ideal for virtual tabletop platforms like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. This week: Not-so-General Store Ever needed a map forContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Map!”

Laidback DM – Theater vs. Grid

As a DM I like to run combat different ways. Sometimes it’s with miniatures and pawns on a 1-inch square grid. Sometimes it’s all in the imagination, what we like to call ‘Theater of the Mind’ (TOTM). Here’s the pros and cons for both: Grid/Battle Mat Pros: * Precise – allows players and DM toContinue reading “Laidback DM – Theater vs. Grid”

Laidback DM: Pawns vs. Miniatures

When I run face-to-face (IRL for all you young whippersnappers) role playing games, I like using a grid and pawns for combat (that’s not to say I don’t like using Theater of the Mind – I do, I just prefer using grids for larger scale battles). In some games I’ve used combinations of pawns andContinue reading “Laidback DM: Pawns vs. Miniatures”

Laidback DM: Products for Sale!

Hi all! Far be it for me to spruik for a living, but hey – it’s how I make a living now. So, here are some of my role playing game products available on DrivethruRPG in print/PDF/digital formats. You can buy any or all of these fine products by visiting this nifty little link: Game on! Steve 🙂Continue reading “Laidback DM: Products for Sale!”


Published under the OGL and compatible with 5e and OSR fantasy role playing games, SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES is a 68-page book with adventures for characters of 1st-4th level, that can be played as One-Shots or as the first module in a four-part campaign.  So, what’s in SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES? · 6 adventures, complete with full color maps! Varied adventuresContinue reading “SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES now in print!”

Laidback DM – Running Big Parties

Nope – this isn’t a post about hosting huge drunkfests the whole street will remember. But nerdfests? Bring it on… There’s a reason most modules are written for four players. Over time this was considered the average number of players most DMs could get together for one game session. Times have changed though, and withContinue reading “Laidback DM – Running Big Parties”

‘Maps Your Party Will Die For’ available now in Print and PDF

Hi all, My latest project – Maps Your Party Will Die For – is now available from DrivethruRPG at the following link:​ Game On! Steve 🙂    

Laidback DM – The Quiet Player

I’m willing to bet money you have a group that has at least one quiet, introspective player, who tends to not speak up much (I’ll refrain from calling them an introvert as sometimes introverts can be outgoing, too). I’m also willing to bet that you’ve DM’ed a game with an unfamiliar group with subdued playersContinue reading “Laidback DM – The Quiet Player”

Laidback DM: Anatomy of a (not quite) break up

So, I’m taking a break from DMing to hone my ‘player’ chops. Part of the reason was my increasing work and study loads and part of it was burn out. I just needed a break from all the work involved in preparing and running a game each week, from my brain constantly thinking about D&DContinue reading “Laidback DM: Anatomy of a (not quite) break up”

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: Easier Encumbrance

Do you use the encumbrance rules as written in 5e? I don’t. I find them…cumbersome, if you’ll excuse the pun. Of all the rules brought across from the various old editions, counting weight in pounds and applying it to a factor multiplied by strength is just tedious. There’s enough math in the game without thatContinue reading “Laidback DM: Easier Encumbrance”

Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures II available in print!

The products from my last Kickstarter, including Shotglass Adventures II, are now available in PDF/print on DrivethruRPG. Here’s a look at the printed version of the book: SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES II For D&D 5e and other OSR fantasy role playing games. • 10 one-shot adventures for characters of 6th-10th level, including murder, dungeon crawl, gauntlet, planar,Continue reading “Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures II available in print!”

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”

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”

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”

Shotglass Adventures II is Coming!

SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES II is the sequel to the successful Shotglass Adventures Volume 1 Kickstarter in March! Published under the OGL and compatible with 5e and other OSR fantasy role playing games, SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES II  is currently 52 pages long, but will be longer once stretch goals are included. Inside you’ll find: · 10 ‘adventure-on-a-page (orContinue reading “Shotglass Adventures II is Coming!”

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: Shotglass Adventures in Print!

Hi All, The print proof for Shotglass Adventures arrived today and I just finished sending rewards emails to all the Kickstarter Supporters (who get a digital copy for free, along with all the digital stretch goal rewards shown at the bottom of this post, and have the option to purchase a softcover book version atContinue reading “Laidback DM: Shotglass Adventures in Print!”

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: Free Cave Map/Encounter!

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 Caves That Bleed Find the missing kid! The Caves that Bleed await! The notes are self explanatory. Above: Just right click and save. This mapContinue reading “Laidback DM: Free Cave Map/Encounter!”