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 2,564 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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GMingAdvice03

In thinking more about last week’s piece on mise-en-place, I realized there was one more thing that I often do for the games that I run, that involves setting up a specific space for maximum effect: creating my GM Screen for the game. I don’t buy pre-made screens, rather I prefer to craft my own to ensure that it will have everything I need, where I need it. To Screen or Not To Screen There is some debate about having a GM screen vs. GMing […]







dnd basic

I was speaking with a friend who enjoys roleplaying, but hasn’t done a lot of it until recently (he’s first a board gamer, but loves a number of geeky games). He began running the Starter Set for friends, but given the other more recent releases, he was confused about what’s necessary, what’s required, what’s optional, etc. for D&D. Joe, and anyone else who is wondering how to start off with this new edition of D&D, here’s my overview of what’s out there and what you […]

TheArrow.png

Mega dungeons are difficult to fully detail because of their sheer size. Here is a random dungeon generation system that helps make the process easier in two ways. First, it creates chunks all at once instead of single rooms, and second it’s modular so that you can design only as much as you need and have rough notes on the rest of what you’ve made while still allowing you to tack on additional content later and still have a coherent whole. The basic building blocks […]

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Recently, the Syfy channel released the sequel to their cult hit movie Sharknado, Sharknado 2: the Second One (Interesting trivia, my Samsung Galaxy phone’s spellcheck knew the word Sharknado by default. Considering how often I run into words it doesn’t know, this was amazing to me). These movies of course drew comparisons to the earlier, but also campy and ridiculous movie, Snakes on a Plane. Since there’s already a Snakes on a Plane fan RPG (and we’ve reviewed it on the stew), it seemed only […]

Gaming Conventions

Hey all! This year’s GenCon was a whirlwind for me! I worked the Cubicle 7 booth in addition to my usual event-coordinating/running and meetings. I got to visit one of my favorite steakhouses with my fellow Gnomies (and met an epic waiter!) and finally tried Fogo de Chao. I was also fortunate enough to collect a couple of ENnies (a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who voted!). In addition, GenCon boasted record attendance again, easily crushing last year’s count. I have no doubt that this […]

GMingAdvice03

This past week I was at Gen Con, and ran a few sessions of my fantasy world, Elhal. Convention games are always tricky, and something that we have talked about many times here on the Stew. This time around, I ran the same session of Elhal in both Fate and in Savage Worlds. In doing so, I realized all the physical implements that go into running these games, and how scarce space can be at a full table. In order to keep everyone’s focus and […]

GMingAdvice04

What’s more realistic? A group of heroes waits in a tavern until adventure finds them … … or a rich, well-connected patron provides them with the means to set out on the next adventure? As cliched as both options can be, I’ve been rethinking my aversion to using the patron as a means of hooking into an adventure. What’s caused this change of heart? I’m reading David Grann’s story of Victorian-era British explorer Percy Fawcett and his lifelong quest for “The Lost City of Z.” […]