I made a list of 3 GM advice subreddits called RefAdvice.
Maybe when a creature is at half hit points they take on a tag called Bloodied and some monsters get stronger when they are Bloodied or even gain strength from their Bloodied allies.
Dyson Logos has great maps:
Find a one page dungeon and start the game right at the dungeon’s beginning.
Find a map of a ruined castle and toss some bandits in it.
An owlbear is killing local sheep…
Just keep it simple.
Sometimes it is the village the players are starting in.
Sometimes it is a phrase from an old bit of notebook scribbles: “The Tiefling Dukes, in their heyday, had 13 Witch-Towers bequeathed to them by the Devil-Tyrant.”
Sometimes I hear a friend has never fought a dragon in a game and so I make a setting with a greedy dragon family using its power to rule over a countryside so he can attempt to kick those dragons in the teeth.
Sometimes I read a book or listen to a podcast about history and that pops something off.
Start where you are passionate and have energy because when you run out of said energy, you’ll want to keep going. Don’t spend energy on anything that isn’t inspirational or useful at the table.
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