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 2,700 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
"fantastic blog for game masters, dungeon masters, and rpg fans" -- Wil Wheaton
"If you aren’t reading Gnome Stew, you’re missing out." -- Wolfgang Baur


trunk

If you’re like me, you pack too much stuff for your face to face games. Oh, we all try to bring just the essentials, but then we still throw in extra stuff, “just in case.” I know a GM who uses a rolling luggage carrier for all their rulebooks. But what do we really need? Now, I’m not the first person to address this issue. Two great articles that have appeared on this site are: Improv Game Kit My Gen Con Kit So the ground […]








GMingAdvice04

A good smack in the nose can teach a valuable lesson, but sometimes the lesson fades. Last weekend, I got another smack on the nose. I let time management get away from me. The result was an unproductively long session, even though there were good elements. Even as a player, I’ve been a part of lengthy planning leading to slow sessions. Back in 2008, I wrote about Planning and Analysis Paralysis in a pair of games. I am an active planner, much to the frustration […]

GMingAdvice012

We spend a lot of time talking about different types of players and the best way to GM for them. But what about GM’s? Do GM’s have types? Most certainly we do. In my years of doing panels and playing games at conventions, and hanging out with all sort of GMs, I have seen certain types. Even my own introspection on the kind of GM I am now, and have been, has revealed different stages or types. So what are those types? And what kind […]

slapchopdude2.jpg

“ So, if you two can balance the ladders just right for about 45 seconds, I can get high enough to get a good angle from this garden beyond the castle walls. I can throw my dart the distance to the chandelier from there and with a good enough to hit roll, which I can totally make!, I can cause it to come crashing down on the table while the duke and his guests dine. They get paranoid and are alerted to the real assassination […]

GMingAdvice05

During my last session of D&D, metagaming reared its ugly head again. My players were attacked by a couple of black dragons, and one of my players briefed the others on what tactics to use and what kind of breath weapon this particular type of dragon had, in spite of this being a low fantasy setting and the character having no idea what a black dragon was. I think it’s fair to say that most GMs wouldn’t appreciate that, and I responded by yanking away the […]

A worn bandoleer

I’m currently the producer for a pair of Primetime Adventures shows. Each show has completed its pilot; now we’re on to the first season. To get there, though, requires very different preparation from my usual. Setting Scenes in Primetime Adventures While GM prep is required in Primetime Adventures, the producer isn’t in charge of the same elements as a traditional game’s GM. The producer sets the episode’s scenes in response to requests by players. To request a scene, the player specifies the characters involved, whether […]

Coordination at cons are why I got a cell phone in the first place.

Ask GMs about their pet peeves when it comes to player behavior and one of the first subjects to come up will be the dreaded smartphone. The modern cell phone, whether you’re an i-devotee or an android enthusiast, is a modern marvel of technology. In your hand you hold something that was science fiction just twenty years ago, but it’s also a tiny device full of huge, shiny distraction. It’s bad enough when you’re having a conversation with someone only to realize they’re paying more […]