Author: John Arcadian

About The Author

John Arcadian

John Arcadian is a freelance writer and art director, a website developer, a builder of sonic screwdrivers, and a purveyor of kilted mayhem. When he isn't out causing trouble in his kilt... Well, no, that is pretty much what he does when he isn't running RPGs or or trying to take over the world.

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Gnome Stew at Queen City Conquest

  This year, a preponderance of Gnomes will be attending Buffalo, New York’s Queen City Conquest convention. While Western New York is home to a larger than normal sample of the Gnomes, many of the Gnomes will be flying and driving in to check out this convention by the waterfall. If you are going to be at QCC, where can you find Gnomes? Angela Murray Due to buying a house and other craziness, Angela missed the deadline to submit official events to the convention, but she’s still coming prepared to run Monster of the Week for at least one...

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Gnome Stew At Gencon

It’s that time of year again when Gen Con rolls around and calls gamers of all sorts to Indianapolis, Indiana for a solid week of gaming fun. Gnome Stew is, of course, not immune to the siren’s song of Gen Con and many of the Gnomes are going to be there running games, giving seminars, and doing awesome things. You know what is really cool about that? If you are there, we can meet up and get to know some of our readers! We also might be carrying some goodies to give out to any readers who come find us, so...

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Mini Review: Shadow of The Demon Lord and Interview With Robert J. Schwalb

Back at Origins 2016, I got a chance to sit down and play a game of Shadow of The Demon Lord with game creator Robert J. Schwalb. I sat down to play with a few other people and after our total party kill I convinced the other players to gang up on Robert Schawlb and tag-team interview him. So, here is a mini-review of what Shadow of The Demon lord is and an interview with the creator. Overview Shadow of the Demon Lord sits right at the center of what I’d consider an old school fantasy game. The themes...

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Mini Review Monday – Chariot and Claustrophobia!

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for reviews of products and supplements. Doing reviews takes a decent bit of time, so we’ve decided to give you a small taste of what some of the things coming across our gnome sized desks are like in a Mini-review Monday.  For the first installment, here are our takes on two very different products that came our way. Claustrophobia! Claustrophobia! was sent to us by Rodney Sloan of Rising Phoenix games. It looked interesting and it featured Gnomes… of course I was intrigued. Starting in on checking out the 28 page...

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Tackling The Tarrasque With 15 Rounds And A Rabbit

As I’ve been getting pulled farther and farther back into the D&D 5e fold, I’ve taken to running more interesting concept games alongside the longer form mini-series campaigns I like to do. I’ve also been running a lot of games for the group of teens at the Worthington library through the Knights of the Northwest program. Since the teens there are always up for a challenge, I decided to bring out something I’ve always wanted to do in a Dungeons and Dragons game – a fight against the Tarrasque as the end point to an adventure. A Super Quick...

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Gnome Stew ENnies 2016

Welcome to the Gnome Stew ENnies 2016 rundown. There are a ton of great nominees out there, and we wanted to point out some Gnome Adjacent projects and the other nominees in the fields we are usually nominated in, Best Blog and Best Website. Of course we want you to give Gnome Stew the best possible vote (Mark Gnome Stew as a 1), but we want you to check out the great competition too. Vote here from now until July 21st!. Gnome Adjacent Projects The Misdirected Mark Podcast (Best Podcast) If you are seeking the pinnacle of podcasting, listen...

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Copyright In Gaming – The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

You may have heard about the recent court decision over the card game Bang! and a clone of it called Legends of the Three Kingdoms. At issue was the fact that, while thematically different, Legends of the Three Kingdoms was, rules and character ability wise, almost exactly the same as Bang!. The court decision ruled in favor of the cloned game, stating that: “In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated,...

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An Olfactory Review of Adventure Scents

Adventure Scents provided us with samples of scent packets to review their Adventure Scents product. Angela Murray wrote up a review and took incredible images for those without video, while Matt Neagley, Darcy Ross, and John Arcadian took part in a reaction video.   Angela’s Review I’m a firm believer in the power certain smells can have to evoke memories and certain feelings, so I was definitely intrigued by the ideas behind Adventure Scents. Heck, I catch a whiff of a particular artificial peach smell and I’m instantly transported back to the age of 13 and riding my bike...

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When Your Game Doesn’t Mean Anything

When I think back about the games that have been the least fun for me as a player, it’s always when there is no meaning to my actions – when it feels like I have no real effect on anything or when the story I’m engaging with has a pre-defined ending that I can’t affect. These sorts of games have often been railroad-y, but not always. Sometimes they are wide open sandbox games where the players can do anything, but it never seems like anything the players do affects the world or the story going on.  I’ve felt this way...

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Throw A Bounty Board At Your Players (Not Literally)

  Life happenings caused two of my players to miss a session. We moved on with the rest of the group, but the main plot mission had them interacting with a big player in the world and being teleported to another location far far away. We ran a small session with just the two players who were missing from the main game, and it went about as well as expected with only one religious cult springing up in the wake of their actions. The side game was fun, but I had a heck of a time getting the two...

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The New Gnome Stew Site

So, uh, hey, we’ve got a new site up. After the cowardly attack by Kobolds who hacked our site on the very first day of April this year (evidence archived here and the ensuing twitter war and retaliation hack here, here, and here), we went deep into figuring out how they hacked us and realized we’d completely broken the site while trying to fix it… Stupid kobold hacking and not at all a really fun april fools day joke and cover screen for redesigning the site… So we built a new site, with the very best bits and bobs...

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You Got Technology In My Fantasy Setting

Technology and fantasy settings don’t often mix well. The highest level of technology in most fantasy settings is highly uncommon and unstable gunpowder weapons. High tech in a fantasy world would cause some very distinct world changes. In some fantasy settings and sub-genres, like steampunk or sciency-fantasy, magic and magic-like technology often mix, or magic acts as technology. Introducing higher levels of technology into an actual fantasy world without changing the central concepts that mark fantasy worlds can lead to some interesting world settings and variations. (Tech in fantasy could lead to some bad places. I mean, can you...

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Welcome to Gnome Stew, the Gaming Blog, Part II

Hello, and welcome to Gnome Stew, part II. If you read Martin’s farewell and explanation article here, then you know what’s going on, but if you haven’t here’s the short version (short is all we’ve got around here, being Gnomes y’know) — After 8 years of manning the helm here at the stew, Martin decided to step down. When Martin asked the Gnomes whether to keep the stew going or archive it, I threw my red hat in the ring to keep the site around and growing. With close to 3,000 articles written by stew authors (including the archives...

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Stealing when you should have been buying…

  Recently, Lance, a friend of mine asked me a GMing advice question about something that came up in his Silvervine game. A high fantasy setting with lots of magic and tech, airships are a common way to travel in the world, but are very expensive to own. That meant his players wanted one, but it would be a while before their coffers were full. After an already hectic adventure running from the guards of a city-state in an action scene that would have done Tony Jaa proud, the players wanted to get an airship by stealing it.  While...

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Back To The Future For GM’s Day

Great Scott! It’s International GM’s Day again! To celebrate, Gnome Stew decided we’d steal a time machine or two — those doctors are fine, right? — and use them to go back in time and tell our past selves some good GMing advice we had yet to learn. So, with the usual level of professionalism and tact you’ve come to expect, the Gnomes of Gnome Stew  (as well as a few companions…) rev it up to 88 and go back in time to give ourselves some sage advice.     Angela Murray Hey, listen a sec, past me. I...

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What’s Gnome Stew

Written by a team of veteran Gamers and Gamemasters, Gnome Stew is a widely read gaming blog with multiple awards and close to 3,000 articles. We're dedicated to helping gamers have more fun at the gaming table. Over 2 million visitors can't be wrong!

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