Author: Martin Ralya


About Martin Ralya

A father, husband, writer, small-press publisher, former RPG industry freelancer, and lifelong geek, Martin has been gaming since 1987 and GMing since 1989. He lives in Utah with his amazing wife Alysia and their awesome daughter Lark in a house full of books and games.

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You’ve heard of “using the whole buffalo,” right? The idea that if you’re going to kill a buffalo, you should respect the buffalo by making every bit of it useful: eating the meat, tanning the hide, making stuff from its bones? When your players hand you their character sheets, think of each of those character sheets as a buffalo. Then, mix your analogies: Everything on your players’ character sheets is a flag. A what now? A flag, gaming-wise, is this (courtesy of our woefully out-of-date […]

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Gnome Stew, Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management, and Engine Publishing were nominated for three ENnie Awards this year, and I’d like to ask you to vote for us online. Voting doesn’t require an account or login, and it only takes a few seconds (you don’t even have to vote in every category): Head on over to the ENnie Awards voting booth Scroll to Best Blog and rank Gnome Stew a “1″ Scroll to Best Aid/Accessory and rank Odyssey: The Complete Game […]

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If you’ve been waiting for Unframed to be available on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, it’s now available for sale there. You can buy Unframed on DTRPG or head to Engine Publishing’s publisher page to buy Unframed as part of a discounted bundle with our other titles. Happy improv!

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The 2014 ENnie Award nominations were just announced, and I’m crazy-excited to see the Stew up for Best Blog and Engine Publishing‘s Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management — written by the Stew’s own Phil Vecchione and Walt Ciechanowski, with art direction by John Arcadian, editing by me, and proofreading by Robert M. Everson (with special thanks to capitalist tool and ex-gnome Kurt Schneider) — up for Best Aid/Accessory! Wow, that sentence kind of got away from me. Voting opens July 20, […]

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“I think of myself as an experienced and veteran GM, but this book had new, exciting, and most importantly useful things to teach me.” — Age of Ravens review“Twenty three short essays from twenty three exceptional Game Masters and creators that will invariably aid you in your quest to make your games better because they reflect what happens, rather than what you have planned.” — Sean’s Pick of the Day review If you’ve been waiting to preorder Gnome Stew’s latest book, Unframed: The Art of […]

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Gnome Stew reader Max sent us this article request, and it piqued my interest (thanks, Max!): Hi there. I’ve been an avid Gnome Stew reader for some time now. You guys have a lot of excellent advice and suggestions that have been infinity useful in my gaming. Anyway, my question/suggestion is thus; do you have any advice on writing a world bible or players guide for a homebrew setting? Just general advice on editing, how much fluff is too much or too little, format suggestions, […]

GMingAdvice05

When you run an adventure, do you assume the PCs will succeed? All experience is anecdotal, but my experience is that this is a common — possibly approaching default, for some groups — mode of play. It’s certainly one I find myself employing often as a GM, and I’m not sure I’m happy with it. These days, I get more enjoyment as a GM (and, increasingly, as a player) when I know that success isn’t assumed. The good guys win at the end For example, […]