Interview with Mike Shea, AKA Sly Flourish

"I think that machines mixed with human beings can do amazing things. I think this is why D&D works so well, we have a bunch of minds around a table sharing stories and a die roll that keeps things unpredictable"

Today's creative is Mike Shea, author of the Lazy DM and a maker of random generators amongst many other things.

Generators Q&A with Mike Shea of slyflourish.com

How did you get into creating random generators?

I found a lot of value from using randomness to inspire Dungeon Masters. I think that machines mixed with human beings can do amazing things. I think this is why D&D works so well, we have a bunch of minds around a table sharing stories and a die roll that keeps things unpredictable. It’s pretty amazing.

What generators are you most proud of creating and why?

Probably the Fantastic Monument generator. Coming up with interesting places on the fly is hard and most of the tables are just a single list of 20 places. Mixing a few elements together (origin, element, type) gives us a huge amount of options.

Ancient Monunents from slyfourish.com

What is the most fun thing about creating generators?

Taking something completely random and then turning it into something really interesting at the table is always great fun. It feels like magic.

What are the most painful lessons you've learnt from creating generators?

I’m no good Javascript programmer so that’s hard. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with enough options to have enough variance in the results. Twenty elements, twenty origins, one hundred monument types; etc.

How do you use random generators yourself?

I often use them to come up with interesting locations and traps. Of course, I use random names all the time.

What are your next big projects (generators or otherwise) that you can talk about?

The Lazy DM’s Workbook will have pages and pages of random tables for names, traps, monuments, items, and town events and more. It’s packed with useful charts to help inspire our improvised D&D games.

Where can people find you on social media?

On Twitter as @slyflourish

Further Reading

For more about creativity and randomness in Dungeons and Dragons check out this article by Mike.

Sly Flourish's latest project is The Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master for which I was one of the Kickstarter backers.

How have generators helped you with creativity?