Author: Guest Author

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!

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Interviews from the Loop

Frequent Guest Poster Keith Garrett has been getting into Tales From The Loop recently, and he’s been writing about it on his blog. He decided to doff a red hat and swing over with some of his articles about this awesome looking game.  Check out his interviews with some of the creators below. – Nostalgic John As we covered recently in our article about hosting a rad 80s gaming party, Tales from the Loop is a new RPG based on the strange, Swedish, 80s-infused art of Simon Stålenhag. I had a few questions for the designers of the game, and...

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How To Host A Rad Tales From The Loop Game

  Frequent guest poster Keith Garrett has been getting into Tales From The Loop recently, and he’s been writing about it on his blog. He decided to doff a red hat and swing over with some of his articles about this awesome looking game.  Check out the first one below. – Nostalgic John I’m hooked on a new roleplaying game called Tales from the Loop. It came out just a few months ago, and puts players in the roles of kids dealing with strange things in an “80s that never was.” And I like it so much that I’ve...

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Starting With A Split Party

Today’s guest post is by Michael Headley, and he tackles the idea of splitting the party as a starting tactic. – Split Decision John Splitting the party is associated with tactical nightmares and GM headaches, but it can actually be a fantastic way to start a big campaign for a group that really enjoys role-playing. Used properly, it can create a dynamic player experience and increase the verisimilitude of your campaign. Starting with split parties means dividing players into two (or more) smaller parties, and for each of them running their own character creation session and introductory scenarios. The...

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Texting in Character

Today’s guest articles comes from Craig Dedrick and covers a way to make texting in game… hold on let me just reply to this… not an annoyance at your… wait, hahha. Man that was funny… table. – Phonebound John I think that we can all agree that when players start to check their phones at the table, it is a signal that there is a problem. For one reason or another, the player is not engaged in the game. Who is at fault in this situation? Is the GM to blame for not creating a compelling scenario? Or is...

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Synthicide Design Diary: Keeping Grid Combat Fluid

Today’s guest article is by Dustin DePenning and is part of our Design Diary series. It covers the use of grids in games and talks about how they make interesting combat options. Check it out, and check out his beautiful and intriguing game Synthicide! – Not a Cylon John Synthicide is set in a violent, post-war galaxy where life has no value. As the tagline goes, “When robots are gods, killing humans is fair game.” Players take on the role of sharpers: human drifters fighting for their next meal. They get by doing dirty work for gangs and corporations,...

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Locations: Finding the lay of the LAND

  In my last article, I used the acronym AIMS to describe how I create NPC’s. I’ll talk here about how I use another acronym – LAND – to create locations. As with AIMS, I use LAND to help me come up with an actionable piece of usable game content quickly. LAND provides an easy way for me to accomplish this with just four fields: Location Type, Areas, Natives, and Disposition. Scale First, it should be noted that LAND can be used on any scale. You can use it to create a single room in a castle, or an...

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Israeli Tabletop: Three Flavors of Delta Green

Today’s guest article is by Haggai Elkayam and is a reworking of an article originally published in Hebrew on Play in Theory. It talks about a style of play found in the Israeli RPG scene. – John In the last year, the Israeli RPG scene has started to define a unique, local genre of one-shots, which we have come to call “Israeli Tabletop” (by analogy with Nordic LARP or American Freeform). Although the genre started developing almost twenty years ago, and dominated our conventions for many years, we have only recently started defining it and what makes it unique compared...

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Getting Into Character With Easy Mental Exercise

Today’s guest article is by author J.M. Bates. She lays out a technique for mentally getting into your character’s skin so you can easily pull up their persona later. – John Of The 72 Transformations Roleplaying gives us the freedom to be someone we’re not. Whether it’s a completely different persona than our own or a modified version of who we already are, we are given a space to express ourselves in any way we choose. In order to demonstrate this new personality clearly, it is important to differentiate between our true self and our fictional character. However, it...

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Roll With It: Random Encounters And Setting Them Up In Roll 20

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...

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Storm King’s Thunder Review and Giant Miniatures Giveaway

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...

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Review: The Kobold Guide to Plots and Campaigns and The Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding

  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...

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The GM’s New Clothes – Gaming without a GM Screen

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...

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The Characters Are the Story

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....

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Delaying the Eventual Death of Your Play-by-Post Game

  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...

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The Finer Points of the FrankenGame

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...

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