Author: Phil Vecchione


About Phil Vecchione

A gamer for 30 years, Phil cut his teeth on Moldvay D&D and has tried to run everything else since then. He has had the fortune to be gaming with the same group for almost 20 years. When not blogging or writing RPG books, Phil is a husband, father, and project manager. More about Phil.

GMingAdvice012

Recently I went to a Project Management conference and sat in on a great session about how Disney creates their customer experience for their customers. While taking notes for things I need to bring back to my office, I realized that creating an enjoyable experience is one of the responsibilities (though not the sole job, nor sole responsibility) of the Game Master. At that moment, the seminar became doubly valuable, as I knew that I would also be taking what I learned to the gaming […]

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 […]

GMingAdvice03

In thinking more about last week’s piece on mise-en-place, I realized there was one more thing that I often do for the games that I run, that involves setting up a specific space for maximum effect: creating my GM Screen for the game. I don’t buy pre-made screens, rather I prefer to craft my own to ensure that it will have everything I need, where I need it. To Screen or Not To Screen There is some debate about having a GM screen vs. GMing […]

GMingAdvice03

This past week I was at Gen Con, and ran a few sessions of my fantasy world, Elhal. Convention games are always tricky, and something that we have talked about many times here on the Stew. This time around, I ran the same session of Elhal in both Fate and in Savage Worlds. In doing so, I realized all the physical implements that go into running these games, and how scarce space can be at a full table. In order to keep everyone’s focus and […]

GMingAdvice05

I was running out of time to prep my games. Sounds almost ironic from the guy who wrote Never Unprepared, but it was true. Things have changed in my life, and my ability to prep was straining against my dwindling free time. I had maximized the usage of my time, and I simply had less time to prepare than before. It was time to re-evaluate the way I prep and evolve my prep to meet my new life situation. Prep-Lite you say? Four years ago, […]

GMingAdvice04

Your group has just completed a major story arc. They have been down in the depths of the Dungeon of Ultimate Sorrows for weeks. You are ready to start off the next delve, into the Tower of Unimaginable Anguish, but are your players ready, and more importantly are their characters? Perhaps all they want is some R&R, to head into town, spend some of that hard-looted gold, and find out the latest gossip. Before their assault on the Tower, they need a repositioning session. Come […]

GMingAdvice05

Running a game is a two-way interaction between players and GM. When the table is in sync, the game develops smoothly. There are times though when things fall out of sync and the game starts to slow down, eventually grinding to a halt. As the GM you try to spur the game back into action, but your NPC’s fail to draw the attention of players, or your plot hooks are too weak to pull them forward. That is when you tap your ace in the […]