System-Neutral GMing Advice
 

Gnome Stew won Gold ENnie Awards for Best Blog and Best Website in 2013, the Gold for Best Blog in 2012, and Silver for Best Blog in 2011 and 2010 -- thank you for your support! Since 2008, we've published 2,488 articles packed with GMing tips and advice, had over 2,000,000 visitors, and written four books for GMs. 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


GMingAdvice04

In many stories in books, on television, and in the movies, the protagonists are often dealt one or more setbacks before the story reaches its climax. In these cases the writer crafts specific events with an intended purpose and outcome. In Role Playing Games, we GM’s often rely on the players to create their own setbacks during a session and within a campaign through bad rolling and impulsive decision making, but there are times the GM wants to write a setback into the game. Depending on […]







Nutrition Label

Over the last few years, I’ve been a fan of creating worlds together or otherwise drawing players into world creation. Our big crusade against the Evil Dwarven Empire was based on a world that we created together, using Dawn of Worlds. When we tried out Diaspora, we only got as far as Cluster Creation, but that alone was fun. Our Primetime Adventures game, Time Preservers, was a show that we created at the table–nothing any of us could have come up with alone. Skills Not […]

"Secrets to Success" by Celestine Chua Some Rights Reserved

Whenever I run a game, I want to make sure it is the best possible game I can run. I want players walking away talking about it and ready for the next session. Maybe 1 in 5 games goes this way, even when I wing it, but it is always rewarding when it all comes together. The other week I was talking to a friend of mine who is getting into GMing. He was lamenting the lack of positive response to his games. We talked […]

Crock Pot

One legacy of the game’s origins is a dungeon laid out on a grid: A collection of rooms, hallways and doors drawn out on an 11- x 8-inch sheet of cyan lined paper. Good fun to be certain. But talk to a geologist. A feature of natural terrain are vertical shafts, carved from the rock by volcanic lava tubes or eroded away by water and gravity. And let’s not forget the activities of human beings, who dig wells for that most precious resource of water […]

Hard on the heels of my review of Jason Sholtis’ The Dungeon Dozen, one of the best books of random fantasy tables I own, I decided to do a rundown of some of the other good ones on my shelves. I’m a big fan of this type of book — books you can flip through, and/or roll on tables in, to get random inspiration, serendipitous bolts from the blue, and idea-jolts from unexpected quarters. I’m sure I missed some of the ones I own (because […]

Sentinels.png

When my gaming group and I see that a game is going to fall through because some people didn’t show or the Game Master wasn’t feeling it that night, we default to a card game called Sentinels Of The Multiverse. One of the biggest draws of this game is that it is cooperative. No one has to run it, the enemies actions are controlled by drawing from a terrain deck and a villain deck, determining what happens and what damage is dealt based on the […]

dd01

Holy shit, this book! If you like random fantasy tables, fantastic old-school fantasy artwork, or Jason Sholtis, that may be all the review you need. I’ll add a sentence for good measure: The Dungeon Dozen is one of the best gaming books I’ve bought in recent memory, and a fantastic value. Need a sample? Here’s the blog it’s based on, which is chock full of goodness: The Dungeon Dozen. It’s available on Lulu in softcover and hardcover, and you should absolutely buy a copy. (I […]