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 is the second one we’ve featured by Robert A. Neri Jr. of Ranger Games Publishing. His first, Can an Onion Bleed?, looked at engaging NPCs. This one’s about items with backstories. Thanks, Robert! — Martin Items can be given a backstory and a level of detail much like a non-player character (NPC), increasing their role within the gaming narrative (which is different from narratives in the traditional sense as the ‘beats’ of the story tend to follow a Sine-wave type pattern, high […]


This guest article was written by Oliver J. Oviedo of OJO Games, and its topic — sustainability — is one that isn’t often addressed in advice for GMs. Thanks, Oliver! — Martin I have had the luxury of having consistent gaming sessions over the last 19 years. Through changes in jobs, schools, relationships and the arrival of kids, I have been able to keep up consistent gaming in my life. Granted, there have breaks here and there, but on average I have gamed 2-4 times […]


Today’s guest article is by Clave Jones. By day he manages the Innové Project, which launches social ventures for the betterment of our planet. By night he is the editor-in-chief of Nerds on Earth, a website that discusses nerdy topics such as Star Wars, The Walking Dead, comics, sci-fi, and of course, Dungeons and Dragons. Thanks, Clave! –Martin I attended my first Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League Organized Play event last year as a brand new D&D player. Technically, I wasn’t a brand new D&D […]


Today’s guest article is by Robert A. Neri Jr. of Ranger Games Publishing, and it’s not actually about bleeding onions — it’s about NPCs. Specifically, believable and engaging NPCs, a topic near and dear to every GM. Thanks, Robert! — Martin Non-player characters (NPCs) populate the game master’s fictional game worlds. NPCs provide a life source beside the vitality injected into the game by the player characters (PCs). Unlike PCs, however NPCs don’t need to be complete characters. Their level of completeness is directly related […]

Crock Pot

Today’s guest article is by Patrick Regan, a screenwriter living in Los Angeles, who learned how to write for TV by GMing after a college roommate made the mistake of showing him Dungeons and Dragons. He blogs at, podcasts at Cinema Excelsior, and can be generally found on Facebook and Twitter @underwoodfive. This is his second guest article; his first was In Media Res. Thanks, Patrick! — Martin “Heeeeeeey. I’m gonna be running a little late.” Show of hands, who’s gotten this text come […]


Today’s guest article was written by Gnome Stew reader Mark Kernow, and it tackles a nifty topic: taking existing rules for characters and stretching them to encompass entire groups. He uses d20 System games as a reference point, but the concept is easily extended to other systems. Thanks, Mark! — Martin What if you treated factions like characters? You could easily introduce new factions into your campaign by giving them statistics and backgrounds similar to characters and monsters. You could build on existing rules and […]


Today’s guest article by Gnome Stew reader Nick M. is his second. Last time around, he talked about getting back in the saddle; today, he’s here to share some tips for “preparing to improvise,” if you will. His advice is aimed at a play style that features pre-planned plots and stories. Thanks, Nick! –Martin Some GMs have the enviable ability to go with whatever the PCs throw at them, creating detailed locations and believable NPCs at the drop of hat. I’ve always struggled with that, […]