Author: Angela Murray

About The Author

Angela has been playing roleplaying games for about thirty years, but it's only in the last decade that she's gotten into being a game master. Once she got into it, though, her interest in that aspect of gaming exploded. In addition to writing for Gnome Stew, she also helped found and write for the all-female blog, 'Rogue Princess Squadron'.

Opening the Door asd
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Opening the Door!!

Wonder Woman made me cry. I was not the only one. Why? Sitting in the theater on opening weekend, I watched as Diana made the decision to do what needed to be done rather than what she had been told should be done. In that moment, as she stepped into No Man’s Land and implacably moved forward, she truly became Wonder Woman. The impact of that scene hit me hard. Emotion welled up in my chest and I could feel my eyes tearing up. There are many reasons why my feelings were so intense about that scene, but the...

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Gnome Stew’s Gencon 50 Photopalooza! asd
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Gnome Stew’s Gencon 50 Photopalooza!!!

Many of us Gnomes just got back from the 50th Gen Con, but many of us Gnomes were unable to attend for one real life reason or another. We know that is the case for many gamers out there. It was a packed Gen Con, but a lot of us didn’t get to make it to the historic event. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered! We made it our mission to take as many pictures as we could during the event, cataloging and showcasing everything we could find as we went along our merry Gnomish ways. We pulled...

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Which Game Changed the Way You Play? asd
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Which Game Changed the Way You Play?!!

If you’re out and about on social media with a preponderance of RPG loving friends, you may have seen the #RPGaDay thing that’s been going around for the month of August. I’ve been putting them up each day on my Facebook and it’s been sparking some interesting discussion. It’s especially fun to see friends that don’t know each other, and will probably never meet in person, bonding over love of RPGs. That’s not really what I want to talk about today, though. It’s been fun, but one of the questions really got me thinking. Day 7 asked “What has...

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Origins 2017: Social Choices asd
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Origins 2017: Social Choices!!

Origins was last week and I’m still walking around in a gamer high haze. There were games galore and many, many people to see and talk to—so many people! As I made my way through the convention center to a variety of games, both scheduled and off-book, I realized I know a crap-ton of people. How the heck did that happen?!? Don’t get me wrong, I like people, but I’ve never considered myself particularly socially adept. While I’ve been told I’m wrong, I’ve always felt a bit shy. Despite that, this year I found myself regularly stopped to say...

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Making Connections asd
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Making Connections!!

I made a thing and want to share it with you, but let’s talk about character relationships first. One of the things I love about RPGs are the small stories that pop up between characters amidst the larger story of a game. Back in the day, this type of thing often happened organically over the course of a campaign. Other than a few rare exceptions decided on during character creation (usually siblings or cousins), the characters brought to the table were strangers with one another and relationships formed as the game progressed. Of course, back then, I had far...

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When You Realize You’re the Problem asd
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When You Realize You’re the Problem!!

Over my time here at the Stew, I’ve written different articles that talk about problem players and ways to handle them. Problem players (and, let’s be honest, GMs) are the type of thing you can run into when you play with a wide variety of people, but it can also occur at your own table. It’s good to be prepared with different tools to redirect or cope with the issues created. But what do you do when you’re in the middle of a game and suddenly realize that YOU are the problem player? This past weekend, my regular group...

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Living Through the Satanic Panic asd
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Living Through the Satanic Panic!!

Over on Kickstarter, Third Act Publishing is running a campaign to fund the production of their new game, Satanic Panic. Put together by Jim McClure, Jim Merritt, and Emily Reinhart, the game gleefully asks, “What if the Satanic scare of the 80’s had been real and gamers actually were summoning demons?” Set in an alternate, but no less nostalgic, 1970s and 1980s, players take the role of secret government agents combating the evils of tabletop. It sounds hysterical and ridiculously fun, but especially amusing for those of us who were gaming back then. Mentioning the game on my Facebook page dredged...

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The Ties That Bind asd
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The Ties That Bind!!

There sure are a lot of orphans in roleplaying games. From the brooding warrior with no ties to hold her back to the super skilled agent with a family lost to tragedy, it’s very common to find a table full of characters that have no family ties. Sometimes you’re lucky if any of them have any connection at all to anyone outside of the scope of the game. It’s a trope that many players fall into and if you’re not careful, your game’s PCs could represent a vast wasteland of loneliness and isolation. When I started thinking about writing...

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The Teleporting Player asd
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The Teleporting Player!!

Problem players come in a variety of types, but it all boils down to a player that is somehow disrupting the game or hindering the enjoyment of others at the table. A while back, I wrote about players that deliberately go out of their way to mess with the game and other players, but this time I’m going to talk about a player that wants to be involved in the game perhaps a little too much. They probably don’t mean any harm, but their actions are still going to hamper the fun of everyone else at the table. Which...

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Creating Plot on the Fly asd
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Creating Plot on the Fly!!

Players often go left when you expect them to go right. Every GM knows this, but most of us still come to the table with material prepared ahead of time. Experienced GMs know how to plan for adjustments when players eventually do the unexpected thing, however it’s still all built on the framework of their plan. But what do you do if you need to create an engaging, entertaining and coherent game out of thin air? Many of the games I have run in recent years call for this type of on-the-fly plot creation. Most of the PbtA (Powered...

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A Tableselfie Year In Review asd
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A Tableselfie Year In Review!!

The most common term I’ve heard to describe 2016 is ‘dumpster fire‘. When it comes to the fractious and alarming state of politics or the helpless sense of loss from losing so many childhood icons, I agree. There are other areas, though, where the year was pretty good to me. I realized a decades long dream to buy a house and celebrated a couple of major milestones at work. 2016 was also a really good to me on the gaming front. Thundercranes Victorious! Star Wars with the kids Savage Rifts! My regular group started off the year with a short...

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Know When to Fudge It, Know When to Let It Go asd
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Know When to Fudge It, Know When to Let It Go!!

In last week’s GnomeCast, I talked a bit about reviving my Eberron campaign with Chris and John. At one point, it was referenced that the gunslinger character in the campaign has pretty much killed at least two big bads with a single shot. That got me thinking about one of those incidents and how crucial it is to know when to let players have it easy and when to tweak an encounter to stretch it out. Fudging rules and dice rolls gets a bad rap for a variety of reasons, some more legitimate than others. Back in the late...

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Gifts for Gamers asd
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Gifts for Gamers!!

Happy Black Friday, everyone! For those of you in the United States, I hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic and spent with people you love. For everyone else, I hope you had a lovely Thursday. Now that my guests have gone home and the kitchen is mostly clean (my brother made an amazing turkey dinner – his stuffing beats your stuffing), my thoughts turn to the upcoming season of gift giving. I celebrate Christmas, but I know plenty of people who celebrate other holidays this time of year. While I refuse to join the madding crowd out in the shopping...

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Commissioning Artwork of Your Character(s) asd
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Commissioning Artwork of Your Character(s)!!

I’m a very visual person. When I dream, it’s like scenes from a movie, full of color and detail. Usually very weird details, but still details. When I read a book, I’m irritated if the cover art is completely off from what the author is describing. When I play a roleplaying game, I want to SEE the characters. Luckily, our hobby is home to a wide array of artistically talented people. Art is an intrinsic component to the success of pretty much all RPGs. They provide the shorthand for the experience the game is offering, from both the style and...

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Resurrecting a Campaign asd
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Resurrecting a Campaign!!

By popular demand, my gaming group has requested we start playing my Eberron campaign again. A while back, I talked about how to suspend a campaign, but what do you do if you didn’t end at a nice, neat point? How do you resurrect a campaign your players love, but you aren’t sure you remember where you parked? I started our Eberron campaign way back in 2011 when I wanted to try my hand at a ‘traditional’ fantasy, fully prepped campaign. Since we were in between D&D editions (sorta) we decided to use Pathfinder. I think I successfully achieved...

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