Author: Martin-TT

About The Author

"Martin Ralya (TT)" is two people: Martin Ralya, the administrator of and a contributor to Gnome Stew, and a time traveler from the years 2005-2007, when he published the Treasure Tables GMing blog (TT). Treasure Tables got started in the early days of RPG blogging, and when Martin burned out trying to run it solo he shut it down, recruited a team of authors, and started Gnome Stew in its place. We moved all TT posts and comments to Gnome Stew in 2012.

GMing Blog Gnome Stew Launches in Early May

If you’re reading this, you’re one of the 900+ GMs who kept your subscription to Treasure Tables’ RSS feed or email service — thank you! Lately I’ve missed writing TT, but I haven’t missed the posting schedule or workload that led to my burnout last December. Enter Gnome Stew. Gnome Stew will be a multi-author blog about game mastering, written by GMs, for GMs. So far we have 10 authors, myself included, and by launch day we may have a couple more. If you were a TT regular, you’ll recognize all of our authors right away. I invited them...

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9

Forums and Archives Open, Blog on Hiatus

Over the past few days, I’ve had enough time — and an amazing amount of feedback — to fully think (and rethink) through my decision to stop writing Treasure Tables. My thanks to everyone who took the time to comment and let me know what TT meant to them. As much as I would like to try one of the many excellent options that readers suggested — such as doing away with my daily posting schedule and turning TT into a group blog — I’ve concluded that what I really need is a hiatus. I had a great break...

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84

Treasure Tables is Unlikely to Continue (Updated Dec. 12)

From November 1st through yesterday, December 9th, I put Treasure Tables in rerun mode so that I could take part in National Novel Writing Month, and to give myself time to consider whether or not I wanted to continue running this site. It wasn’t any easy decision (in fact, making it really sucked) but I’ve decided that I don’t want to continue running Treasure Tables. Update Dec. 12: Thank you to everyone who has commented so far — it’s pretty amazing to see all of this support. I’m still mulling things over, but I wanted to let you know...

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Relax and Have Fun: Notes from a Clueless GM (May 2007)

Treasure – Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Thinking about GMing in the car (you know you do it too), it hit me just how clueless I was for the first several years. Oh, I figured plenty of stuff out on my own, and I developed aspects of my GMing style that persist today, but by...

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When in Doubt, Take Five (July 2007)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Few arrows in your GMing quiver are as versatile, valuable and powerful as the five-minute break. If a problem arises, whether it’s on your side of the screen or not, taking a short break is nearly always a good idea. It gives everyone a chance to hit the bathroom,...

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The Hub: Home Sweet Base (Sep. 2006)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Regardless of genre or system, it can be a lot of fun to give the PCs a hub — a home base, even if it’s not actually home (although it could be). Hubs are fun on several levels, not the least of which being that they make great gateways...

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Dry-erase vs. Wet-erase Maps and Battlemats (July 2007)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Setting aside digital map projection, the two most popular reusable RPG mapping solutions out there are dry-erase boards and wet-erase mats. The former come in a variety of sizes, from commercial white boards to options designed specifically for RPGs, like the unbelievably awesome Tact-Tiles. The latter most commonly come...

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6 Tips for Maintaining Momentum (Oct. 2006)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Every GM has experienced slow spots, hiccups and other delays during gaming sessions. There are so many moving parts involved that it’s almost inevitable — but it’s not unavoidable. Here are 6 tips for keeping your sessions flowing smoothly. 1. Build momentum into your scenarios. If you’re writing your...

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Make Them Choose: Devil’s Choices for PCs (July 2007)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – When it comes to the PCs, hard choices are the steam that powers the engines of character development. Without that steam, that energy and motive force, the PCs won’t develop nearly as quickly, nor in such interesting ways. I’m not a big advocate of forcing anything player- or PC-related,...

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GM as Video Game Designer (Apr. 2006)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Wired recently did an issue on videogames, and one thing that piqued my interest was this concept: Video game designers have to strike just the right balance with the difficulty of their games — too easy, and the player gets bored; too hard, and they give up. That middle...

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GMPCs: A Two-Edged GMing Tool (July 2007)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – In the comments on Help Your Players Hone their PCs During Chargen, TT reader Telas suggested this topic: “Good vs bad GMPCs…” (Thanks, Telas!) GMPC stands for Game Master Player Character, and most often refers to an NPC that is part of the party, and takes part in all...

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The 4 Ways to Choose Your Next Game (Nov. 2005)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – When your group is ready to start a new game, there are a numbers of ways to handle deciding what to play. By far the most common approach I’ve seen is this one: The GM says, “I’m going to run this game,” and the rest of the group says,...

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Seven of the Worst Ideas in GMing History (July 2006)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Treasure Tables is usually pretty upbeat, discussing good stuff and challenging stuff, but rarely bad stuff. For a change of pace, let’s take a look at seven of the worst ideas in GMing history. I’ve tried to stay away from personal bias (“ur rpg sux, d00d”), but I’m sure...

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Making the Gods Matter in Fantasy RPGs (Jan. 2007)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Most fantasy RPGs feature a variety of gods, and those gods tend to play a prominent role in the world. There’s a spectrum, of course, ranging from settings where the gods are in the background to worlds like the Forgotten Realms — where, in the form of their avatars,...

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Creating Ambience (Oct. 2005)

Treasure Tables is in reruns from November 1st through December 9th. I’m writing a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, and there’s no way I can write posts here while retaining my (questionable) sanity. In the meantime, enjoy this post from our archives. – – – – – Halloween is coming up (along with the end of the Blogging for GMs project, currently on day 18), so this seems like a good time to offer up 5 tips on creating ambience for your game. Along with where you play, the nature of your surroundings can — however...

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