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 2,645 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


Do something cool. Do a barrel roll!

Everyone wants to be awesome, to find that moment of perfect cool. Maybe the exact style of awesome varies from person to person but make no mistake about this, each player that comes to your table, from the min-maxers to the esoteric actors, wants their character to do or be something cool, or interesting, or powerful, or great, or… You get the idea. While most of the work for this lies in the players’ hands, don’t underestimate how important it is for the GM to […]








Crock Pot

The Golden Geek Awards are now accepting nominees, and if you’re an RPGGeek member and a fan of the Stew’s latest book, Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters, I’d like to ask for your nomination. Voting only takes a few moments and runs through February 8th. Unframed is eligible for Best Supplement and Best Artwork, and to nominate it you just search for Unframed, click nominate, and repeat for the second category. if you nominate Unframed, thank you very much for your support!

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It’s Tuesday, which means someone, somewhere, decided to just create their own holiday today! Because that’s like a thing now! But here at the Stew, we’re exceptionally excited by any gaming holidays, especially those that lend assistance and inspiration to prospective GMs. Enter National New Gamemaster Month or—wait for it—NaNewGaMo! The brainchild of the folks over at Monte Cook Games, NaNewGaMo—as the name strongly indicates—focuses on helping new gamemasters find their own voice. The name, while inspired by National Novel Writing Month, isn’t related to […]

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I just recently started a Night’s Black Agents campaign and while prepping for my first session, I found that what I prepped was far less than I normally would write out. When I looked at what I was leaving out, I saw that it was all the contingency material; all the “if they do this, then this happens”. It was then I realized that I did not need that anymore, because I would react to what the players came up with and roll with it. I […]

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I was not around for the beginnings of the game industry. I can look at the Red Box D&D set on my gaming shelves and know that I only have it because I acquired it from a friend who acquired it from an ex-girlfriend’s father. It sits next to my D&D Rules Cyclopedia, which I picked up a few years after first publication from a used book store. I was at the tender age of 12 or so and got it because it looked cool […]

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Today I’d like to talk about adjectives. In case English class is an old forgotten or deeply repressed memory for you, a reminder: adjectives are those words that describe other words, specifically they describe things. In some cases they describe other adjectives but that doesn’t interest us here today. Words that describe actions are another beast entirely and we’re not interested in those today either. Examples: large, burning, squashed, futuristic, repulsive… You know the drill. O.K. we’re done with the recap. I doubt anyone reading […]

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In the spirit of “you can never have enough five-room dungeon posts,” here’s a 5-step mini-quest using the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. For reference, check out these past posts by myself and Matthew J. Neagley on the utility and craft behind the five-room dungeon. This one will use the Moose layout, though it can be adapted to the Evil Mule. Setup Family and friends of Dionysus worshipers approach the PCs, requesting they intercede in a planned bacchanal, orchestrated by wicked maenad Calepida. […]