Today’s Guest Article and art comes from the Owlington, artist and gamer. He talks about random encounters and setting them up in Roll20. Take it away Owlington! – Randomly Assigned John Random encounters. A lot has been said about this subject and a lot has been created to ease the burden of the time poor Games Master, but what purpose do they actually serve, and how can we use them to inject more into our games? Generally speaking, getting from point A to point B can be a real pain in the ass, even in our mundane lives (mostly...Read More
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About The Author
The article you just read was written by a Gnome Stew reader. We can’t say which one in this bio, since the bio appears with all guest articles, but whoever they are we can all agree that they possess supernatural beauty and magical powers, and are generally awesome. Gnome Stew readers rock!
When the DM for my D&D 5th game, Mark Middleton, asked if we had read any official WOTC books, I told him I had gotten a review copy of Storm King’s Thunder that I hadn’t yet dove into, but was planning to review. He asked me not to, since this was the next arc of our campaign. Seeing an opportunity to get a DM’s perspective of the book in play, I asked for 3 extra levels and a review for the site in return for not reading the product. I still haven’t gotten those 3 free levels… but here’s...Read More
Today’s review of Kobold Press Gudies comes from Sarah Jasmine Stork, who graciously agreed to play mediator in the great Gnome/Kobold war and review the products on our behalf. Kobold Press sent her review copies. Thanks! I have been casually playing D&D for nearly 15 years and, to be honest, I’ve never gotten good at the mechanics. I love seeing how my fellow players create and build relationships with their characters and I am fascinated by the myriad ways that we all try to navigate these fantastic worlds by inhabiting our characters. A well-created world with captivating story...Read More
Kyle MacKay has been GMing for years with a GMs screen, and in today’s guest article he talks about his process of getting rid of it. While GMs screens are a staple of more conventional types of role-playing, and I love mine for certain games, Kyle makes some good points about ditching it for the traditional games — This Machine Kills Min-Maxers John The Gamemaster’s Screen is as an iconic a symbol of our hobby as the strange little dice we use. Behind that barrier of cardboard, covered with a collage of brightly colored heroes, wizards, and dragons, a...Read More
Today’s guest article is about one of my favorite topics, characters. When it comes to roleplaying, characters are prime and their stories are the ones being told. Craig Dedrick takes a look at a method of character creation that focuses on the characters’ and their stories. Check it out. — A Character in Real Life John There are many ways to create characters. Some groups prefer to create characters in isolation. Players come up with ideas independently. Perhaps they submit the ideas via email, or perhaps they simply show up to the session with their character ready to go....Read More
Today’s guest article is by Osmond Arnesto and deals with a different type of roleplaying when you are geographically distant from your group – play by post — Postal Gnome John. One of my first games wasn’t played on a forgotten kitchen table in the basement, or even on a sticky table at Denny’s. That, I am ashamed to admit, came much later when I should have known better. Instead, I was sitting on my dorm room bed at college, typing on a laptop. The game was for Dungeons & Dragons v3.5, and I was playing through DnD Online Games...Read More
Today’s guest article was stitched together by Robert Neri Jr. of Ranger Games Publishing and talks about cobbling together games to make something wholly unique. We’ve inspected the lab equipment and found it up to Gnomish standards. – John A.B. Normal Game-Masters are already like mad scientists when through either in-play rulings (e.g. building precedence) or directly fabricating rules or guidelines they modify their current gaming system to patch deficiencies or fill in gaps discovered during play regardless of the potential for unforeseen consequences. However, GM’s can go further without blindly stepping onto the unsteady ground of game creation...Read More
“Gnome Stew Guest Author Keith Garrett donned his red shirt and gnome hat to go out and get us an interview with Chris Birch about the new Modiphius Star Trek game. Beam in and boldly check out the interview Keith brought back from his away mission! – Boldly Going Where Gnome Ann Has Gone Before John” What a year for Star Trek fans. We’ve got a new movie, a new series nearing production, and now a new Star Trek roleplaying game. The game will be called Star Trek Adventures, designed by Modiphius Entertainment. Modiphius plans to release the game in Summer of...Read More
Today’s guest article is by Nick M., who talks about what to do when you can’t run a full game — turn to the NPCs and play out another angle of the story. Check it out and start brainstorming what background characters are about to get an upgrade. — A Face In The Crowd John Life being what it is, it is inevitable that you will have some weeks where one or more players cannot make the game session. In some cases it’s not that big a deal, you can run their PC as an NPC, you can ‘forget...Read More
Gnome Stew guest author Keith Garrett is currently celebrating 31 Days of Ghostbusters at his blog adventuresofkeithgarrett.com. He’s writing posts every day to celebrate the franchise’s return to the big screen (tomorrow!). He graciously decided to share not one but two with us. Check out the last one talking about the Ghostbusters RPG of yore. – Full On Ectoplasmic Phenomenon John The Ghostbusters RPG (which we talked about recently) may be dearly departed, but it lives on in spirit. Elements from Ghostbusters have made their way into later games, either in the form of game mechanics, philosophy, sense of...Read More
Gnome Stew guest author Keith Garrett is currently celebrating 31 Days of Ghostbusters at his blog adventuresofkeithgarrett.com. He’s writing posts every day to celebrate the franchise’s return to the big screen. He graciously decided to share one (or two!) with us, and fulfilling our end of the bargain we are going to release him from the containment trap. – I ain’t afraid of no Gnomes John A Brief Overview of The Ghostbusters RPG During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick...Read More
Today’s guest article comes from Keith Garrett, an avid Gnome Stew reader, oft times guest article contributor, and he has now outed himself as a podcast listener. If you like podcasts, check out the Gnome Adjacent podcasts – Misdirected Mark (Chris, Phil, Bob) , She’s a Super Geek (Senda), and Talking Games (Send and Phil). And now, on with the show… review and descriptions by Keith. – John “I’ve got a voice for print” Arcadian There are many, many podcasts dedicated to roleplaying games (and other games, for that matter). There’s probably at least one for your favorite game....Read More
Today’s guest article comes from Gnomish Spymaster Jonathan Sirico and covers technological gaming on youtube, twitch and other venues. – Quintuple Agent John In twenty five plus years I have been on both sides of the screen numerous times for various systems. Like many of you, I struggle with the life/work/gaming balance and recently had to leave my weekly game. Searching online, I found Twitch, Steam, YouTubers, play by post games, and roll20 games. Some of what I found was interesting, like wotc_dnd, but nothing was really a good fit for my time or interest level. Eventually, I stumbled...Read More
Today’s guest article is by the awesome Craig Dedrick, who handed off the task of making maps to his players and wrote about the experience. Hum the Indiana Jones theme song in your head as you read. – Cartographer John In general, one of the things that I take great delight in as a game master is the process of preparing for a game. Finding the monsters/antagonists, coming up with NPC’s, and figuring out encounters and plot points is great fun. However, like many pleasant jobs, there are some tasks that are less enjoyable. For me, the unpleasant...Read More
Today’s guest article on worldbuilding is by Patrick Regan. Take a trip through the process of collaborative worldbuilding and check it out! – Journeyman John The image most people have of GM’s is of a man with a screen, a private set of dice, and a notebook or binder full of scribbled notes, maps, and monsters. This notebook is the world the players are going to romp through, it contains all the secret knowledge, the geography, and the history. It’s the GM’s property and responsibility. What if it didn’t have to be? Gnome Stew has spilled a lot of...Read More
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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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Our Books for GMs
Through our partner Engine Publishing, we've published six system-neutral books for GMs, with over 28,000 copies sold. Available in print and PDF.
The Complete Game Master's Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions
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The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters
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The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management
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The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep
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1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game
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501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters
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Through Encoded Designs
Through our partnership in the G.E.M. collective, many of the Gnomes are affiliated with creating products through Encoded Designs. Available in print and PDF.
Gnomes on Podcasts, even a Gnome Only Podcast!
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Do you have what it takes to save Neon City in this 80s, neon, cyberpunk game?
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Art by Matt Morrow, Characters By Encoded Gnomes
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Gnome Phil Vecchione's Dungeon World Hack About Water Rights
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