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 2,593 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!

"I check Gnome Stew every day." -- Monte Cook
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"If you aren’t reading Gnome Stew, you’re missing out." -- Wolfgang Baur


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Flea circuses are fraudulent mechanical fakes or worse yet, torture boxes built of super glue and heating coils. But that wasn’t always the case. There was one flea circus which was true to advertising. “The Czar” as he liked to be called by his children, awakened near human intelligence in a group of fleas through generations of selective breeding and perhaps a drop or two of blood magic. Your troupe claims descent from that first circus, though perhaps it is all just a legend. Circus […]








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Today’s guest article was written by Will Jobst. Find him @dm_ilf and at www.willjobst.wordpress.com, before he finds you. Hurry. Oh God, I hear him. Will is based in Boston, MA. This is his second guest article; his first was Blank Check GMing. Thanks, Will! –Martin D&D provides a state-of-the-art power fantasy, but all GMs can do is neuter their players. Gross. Don’t neuter your players, let them be super badass! Let them describe killing blows, feats of athletics, and their guile and charm. Let them […]

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Assume that you are invited to join a Star Wars campaign (RPG system doesn’t matter for this exercise). As you sit down, the GM mentions that the first movie (Star Wars IV: A New Hope) is the only canonical source. The GM then informs you that the campaign starts a few months after the destruction of the Death Star. The galaxy is plunged into chaos as the Rebel Alliance discovered that Grand Moff Tarkin had been head of a military coup that had been manipulating […]

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Since 2010, we’ve been working with translation partners to get Gnome Stew articles translated into languages other than English. We want GMs everywhere to be able to read our work, and these partners help make that happen. We just added a third language and partner: Roleplaying News Russian is now translating Stew articles into Russian. The partnership officially launched with A Mobile Base of Operations, but their “back catalog” is pretty robust; you can check out all of their translated articles here. Welcome aboard, Roleplaying […]

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Recently I went to a Project Management conference and sat in on a great session about how Disney creates their customer experience for their customers. While taking notes for things I need to bring back to my office, I realized that creating an enjoyable experience is one of the responsibilities (though not the sole job, nor sole responsibility) of the Game Master. At that moment, the seminar became doubly valuable, as I knew that I would also be taking what I learned to the gaming […]

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In high school and college, I wanted to learn how to draw like Walter Simonson.  He was one of the most influential comic book artists of the 80’s, and continues to draw to this day.  In an interview or on a letters page, he revealed that he did all of his inking using a Hunt 107 ink nib.  These are those little metal tips that artists use to ink cartoons and comics; the descendants of the quill pen. However, owning the same pen as Walt […]

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Thanks to Dungeons & Dragons and Tolkien, the fantasy baseline of “demihumans” (as we used to call them back in the day) were dwarves, elves and halflings. You create a fantasy setting, and there is either an expectation or casual acceptance that those three player races are in it. But let’s wipe that board clean. Let’s imagine a new fantasy world. What races could — or should — we include? Now this is one of those nice thought experiments you can do at home with your […]