Author: Guest Author

About Guest 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!


Today’s guest article was written by Will Jobst, GM, political science student, musician, and hopefully-maybe-one-day RPG writer. He runs a weekly game with strangers he tricked into his apartment, and waxes RPG-theory @dm_ilf and at He is based in Boston, MA. Thanks, Will! The collaborative GM gives her players every opportunity to fictioneer. Create, extrapolate. Everyone at the table contributes to the story, so it’s time to hand them the Blank Check. Establish, Build In play, the GM can create an opening for a […]


Today’s guest article by Gnome Stew reader Rickard Elimää is a follow-up to his previous piece on the Stew, The Fish Tank as a Mystery. Thanks, Rickard! Imagine the characters being fishes. Throw them into a fish tank filled with piranhas, lean back and watch what happens when they start swimming around. This article will show you how to create an open-ended intrigue in 20-40 minutes by following five steps. It will also talk about some of the theory behind it and finally how you […]


Today’s guest article is by Gnome Stew reader Kyle, a long-time role-player who lives out his days in the mountains of Western North Carolina. He has played many different games and GMs more than he plays. Thanks, Kyle! –Martin Not that kind of fresh blood. Not the kind that means you bring in new players to every campaign that you run. Rather the new blood that says “We are going to try something different.” While I am a huge fan of the baseline games that […]


Today’s guest article is by Gnome Stew reader Azrof Darkwood, and it’s all about PC advancement and different ways to handle it within the boundaries established by a particular — and common — style of play. Thanks, Azrof! –Martin Disclaimer: Many tabletop roleplaying games include a risk-reward system. As PCs advance in power, they are given opportunities to take on ever-increasing challenges in exchange for enhanced rewards. These rewards might take the form of character points (to enhance the player character), goods (such as funds […]


Today’s guest article is by Jeff Lees, who posts on the Stew as Leesplez. Jeff lives and works in NYC and has been GMing for about 9 years. This is Jeff’s second article for the Stew (his first was Saying Isn’t Feeling: Evoking Emotional Engagement in Players. Thanks, Jeff! –Martin Improvisation is an essential part of role-playing games, for both the players and the game master. Many GMs, myself included, love improvisation, and we rely on it to fill in the holes we decided to […]


Today’s guest author, Aaron Renfroe (whose Battle Boards I reviewed last year, is the owner and operator of Custom RPG and has been in the storytelling business for 17 years. He has plans to write a series of articles for Gnome Stew and is currently working on crafting his own setting. Thanks, Aaron! –Martin Character meta-mechanics are the elephant in the room in most roleplaying games. By character meta-mechanics, I mean those mechanisms that exist to protect and advance characters in ways that interfere with […]


Today’s guest article is by Aaron Ryyle, and it’s on a topic that comes up in just about every fantasy campaign: travel, and how to make it fun. Thanks, Aaron! –Martin Many Game Masters of fantasy games enjoy creating vast, wild worlds for their players to adventure in — I am one of them. In such a world, however, travel times can become extremely important…something we often forget to consider until our players actually hire a ship to take them to that far-away land. I […]