System-Neutral GMing Advice
 

You can now preorder our latest system-neutral GMing book, Focal Point: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions! When you preorder, you'll receive the DRM-free PDF edition within 24 hours, weeks before it's available anywhere else.

Preorders run through July 31, and we made a free 19-page preview PDF for you to check out. Please see the preorder launch announcement for details.

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You can now preorder our latest system-neutral GMing advice book, Focal Point, from the Engine Publishing online store! When you preorder, you’ll get access to the full DRM-free, hyperlinked, bookmarked PDF within 24 hours, weeks before the book is available anywhere else and months before it’s in retail stores. Preorder Now! Preorders will run through July 31, 2015. I’m running preorders slightly differently this year, and a bit later in the summer than usual, so please read on for details. What’s Focal Point about? Written […]








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Gnome Stew has been nominated for Best Blog in the 2015 ENnie Awards, and I’d like to ask you to vote for the Stew. The ENnies are judge-nominated, but fan-awarded — and are sometimes decided by veeeery slim margins. This is one of those times when every vote really does matter! Voting is open through July 14, requires no special login/account, and takes just a few seconds. You can vote in as many or as few categories as you like. Here’s the step-by-step process: Visit […]

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Ahhh, summer. Time to sling the haversack over your shoulder and do some wilderness exploring. Some groups take to hex crawls with enthusiasm. Tromping across unknown territory, wind ruffling their hair, owlbears, werewolves and hill giants to slay as they cross the boundary of that little six-sided section of map. However, it’s not for everyone. Some groups find the blind meandering into another map section tedious. They don’t want to explore endless tracks of land. They want story. They want plot. They want to know […]

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Focal Point is at the printer! Which means . . . preorders will open July 7! And that means . . . it’s preview time! Specifically, time to share a free 19-page preview of Focal Point, including the front and back covers, table of contents, and a representative sample from each of the book’s three big sections. Preorder details will be in the launch announcement on the 7th. I can’t wait to share this book with you!

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I recently ran two games at our local gameday: fantasy in the first session, and Star Wars (using a VERY simple version of FUDGE) in the second. I wanted to sit down and evaluate what went well and what needed improvement in case I get to run those scenarios again. I’m not going to bore you with a blow by blow account (“Let me tell you about my game..”). Rather let’s focus on some of the big issues that come to mind, and may have […]

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I’m still reading the Cypher System rulebook, though I suspect many people would get through it faster than I have. So far I’ve finished the first 10 chapters (through page 234) covering character creation and the rules. Though the sections on adapting the base system to various genres and the GMing section remain, what I’ve read so far encompasses all the necessities for running a game. Character creation in the cypher system is fairly easy. Couched as creating the sentence “I am an adjective noun […]

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While proofreading the final draft of Focal Point I re-read a story I presented about a time when I was a less-than-stellar player. I’d allowed an encounter that went bad for me early on hang over the entire session and I’d resisted any attempt to get back on board no matter how hard the GM and other players tried. Not only did it ruin the session, but it cut the heart out of the campaign and it died a session or two later. As a GM, I’ve […]