System-Neutral GMing Advice
 

Winner of six ENnie Awards (Gold for Best Blog, 2012-2014; Gold for Best Website, 2013; Silver for Best Blog 2010, 2011), Gnome Stew is dedicated to helping GMs and their players have more fun at the gaming table. Since 2008, we've published 2,710 articles packed with GMing tips and advice, had over 2,000,000 visitors, and written five books for GMs. Thank you for your support, and happy gaming!

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ghostbusters_table

I recently had the opportunity to obtain a copy of the Ghostbusters II RPG, by West End Games. This game has been out of print for over 25 years (cough, cough), and I had not seen a copy of the game, nor run it, in the same amount of time. Being someone who does not run games a second time, and is of the “cult of the new”, I had reservations about bringing a classic like this to the table. I also had concerns about […]








I really do highly recommend it. It's high octane from start to finish.

On a whim, I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road this past weekend. I cannot adequately express my fan girl glee at this movie without descending into nonsense and Kermit flailing. OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH! The cars, the costumes, the explosions, the CHASE. Oh what a day. What a lovely day! Besides reminding me of how much I loved the original movies, it also fiercely rekindled my desire to run a post-apocalyptic game. I’ve wanted to run a post-apocalyptic game almost since […]

Floating Rock

I was doing some prep recently (gasp no!) so I figured I’d share. Here is a base located on the ethereal plane for your high magic adventures. Reasonably close to the center of the bizarre geometry of the planes, the city of Media is a large trading center and rest stop for dimensional travelers of all sorts. 1. The Rock: A huge rock floating in the gray fog of the ethereal plane. It’s surface is rough and blasted and full of all sorts of pockmarks, caves […]

area_map

Players love to go off the map. That’s one thing that separates traditional roleplaying games from computer games, the ability to try anything. In a face to face setting, there are a number of ways to handle players going “off map.” You can quickly draw a map on a clean piece of paper, wipe off your battlemat and start fresh, or move some terrain pieces and an oatmeal box to represent the changing scene. It can be harder to do this when using a virtual […]

GMingAdvice04

It can be difficult to switch over, to cross the table and GM for the first time. Long ago, I wrote Introductory Games for New Roleplayers for a young GM and a table of all new players. This time we’re looking at a different situation—training new GMs who may be nervous about running for tables of experienced players and strangers. Instead of apprenticing to a GM and getting a peek behind the curtain between sessions, a group of experienced GMs are going to hold a […]

Descriptive text from Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Wizards of the Coast, 2014

Published adventures are more abundant and accessible than ever before. The depth, range and quality of the material is as strong as ever, too. That increases the likelihood of GMs incorporating published adventures into their games. Of late, I’ve tried to streamline my process for preparing published material, whether I’m porting in an encounter from an outside source to use in the next session, or outlining several sessions from a campaign guide. These three things are what I consider my priorities when gleaning from published […]

snowtracks

One of the biggest problems I’ve ever seen plague any game is miscommunication between the Game Master and the players. The game master will say: “You throw the door open and see the footprints in the ever-deepening snow. The flakes continue to fall from the sky and begin to obscure the tracks that lead off to the west.” And what they are thinking is: That article on combats in snow was awesome. I’ve got a lot of interesting challenges set up, but this chase through […]