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.

GMingAdvice05

This past week, I was listening to the new and excellent podcast, Gaming & BS. The episode was about Game Balance, and the hosts, Sean and Brett, had an interesting discussion about Encounter Balance in RPGs. Their discussion was solid, but as they were talking I realized that Encounter Balance is not the root issue. There is more lurking beneath the idea of Encounter Balance, and if you want to solve the problem you have to find the root cause. So let’s go digging… Encounter […]

GMingAdvice03

One of the benefits about co-hosting an RPG Podcast and owning a small RPG company is that I get to talk a great deal about RPG’s with a lot of great gamers and game designers. One of those discussions has been about two facets of an RPG: the game and the fiction engine. From Meta to Meat I want to approach the discussion of these two facets of the game from a meta, or theoretical, position. At this level, my focus will be more on generalities, with supporting points. […]

GMingAdvice03

Over the past few months, I have become interested in the topic of Leadership. As a project manager, leadership comprises a large part of what I do each day as I work with various project teams. As I began to study the area of leadership, I came to realize that it plays a role in RPG’s as well. With some thought, I realized that there is not a single leader, but there can be three different leaders at the table. What is Leadership? There is no […]

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 […]