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 2,577 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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GMingAdvice05

In ages past, when all-in-one boxed sets were common and character sheets were bought in packs, it was safe to assume that some flavor of Dungeons & Dragons was the gateway into an imaginary world of fantasy roleplaying adventure for most gamers. It’s where we learned that a character was more than a piece to be pushed around a board (although there was still plenty of that) and to think critically lest a random trap send us back to the books for a new character. […]








GMingAdvice012

One thing I hear frequently from my fellow GM’s is that they are always a game master and never a player. Allow me to drag out my soapbox and say that if all you ever do is GM then you are doing yourself a large disservice. You are, in many ways, limiting your ability to grow as a GM. If you want to run the best games possible, sometimes you have to get out from behind the screen and pick up a character sheet. GMing […]

snowman

One of the things I love about being a nerd is that it’s perfectly okay to immerse yourself in the love of a particular subject. It’s actually one of the reasons I love being able to claim the title of ‘nerd’. Unfortunately, though, one of my pet peeves is when some nerds (especially the RPG variety) take that immersion a little too far. Sometimes they take the love of a subject and turn it into an obsession that blows up inconsequential details so badly it […]

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I’ve been in and out of a gaming slump for a while. It started when I moved to Mississippi and all of my gaming opportunities dried up. Though I started groups down there and ran a lot of one shots, I just never got any consistent gaming going on. Now I’m on the stable side of a move back to Ohio and living in a place where there is a ton of gaming to be had, but I’m not yet into it and am still […]

ship_small

In my fantasy campaign, the players recently acquired a flying airship. This gave me the chance to reflect on the advantages and possible concerns with a mobile base of operations. While many of my examples will be based in a fantasy setting, the same principles should apply to any mobile base, be it a starship, sailing ship, or catbus. ADVANTAGES Travel time – If your group likes to get right to the “good part,” a mobile base of operations eliminates much of the issue of […]

GMingAdvice012

Today’s guest article was written by Will Jobst, GM, political science student, musician, and hopefully-maybe-one-day RPG writer. He runs a weekly game with strangers he tricked into his apartment, and waxes RPG-theory @dm_ilf and at www.willjobst.wordpress.com. He is based in Boston, MA. Thanks, Will! The collaborative GM gives her players every opportunity to fictioneer. Create, extrapolate. Everyone at the table contributes to the story, so it’s time to hand them the Blank Check. Establish, Build In play, the GM can create an opening for a […]

fishTankIntrigue_event

Today’s guest article by Gnome Stew reader Rickard Elimää is a follow-up to his previous piece on the Stew, The Fish Tank as a Mystery. Thanks, Rickard! Imagine the characters being fishes. Throw them into a fish tank filled with piranhas, lean back and watch what happens when they start swimming around. This article will show you how to create an open-ended intrigue in 20-40 minutes by following five steps. It will also talk about some of the theory behind it and finally how you […]