Author: Matthew J. Neagley

About Matthew J. Neagley

First introduced to RPGs through the DnD Red Box Set in 1990, Matt fights an ongoing battle with GMing ADD, leaving his to-do list littered with the broken wrecks of half-formed campaigns, worlds, characters, settings, and home-brewed systems. Luckily, his wife is also a GM, providing him with time on both sides of the screen.


I’m still reading the Cypher System rulebook, though I suspect many people would get through it faster than I have. So far I’ve finished the first 10 chapters (through page 234) covering character creation and the rules. Though the sections on adapting the base system to various genres and the GMing section remain, what I’ve read so far encompasses all the necessities for running a game. Character creation in the cypher system is fairly easy. Couched as creating the sentence “I am an adjective noun […]


Recently we at Gnome Stew were approached by Monte Cook Games, asking if we’d like a pre-release review copy of their soon to be available Cypher System. I won the ensuing caged gnome knife-fight and have spent several long nights hunched over the eldritch tome. This is the system, by the way, from Monte Cook Games’ popular product lines Numenera and The Strange, and a simplified version is apparently used in their recently kickstarted project for younger players: No Thank You Evil. Standard Boilerplate: Full […]

Floating Rock

I was doing some prep recently (gasp no!) so I figured I’d share. Here is a base located on the ethereal plane for your high magic adventures. Reasonably close to the center of the bizarre geometry of the planes, the city of Media is a large trading center and rest stop for dimensional travelers of all sorts. 1. The Rock: A huge rock floating in the gray fog of the ethereal plane. It’s surface is rough and blasted and full of all sorts of pockmarks, caves […]


So you’ll often read online or hear during RPG discussions that someone’s dice were “misbehaving”, by which they usually mean they had a long string of low (usually, but sometimes high) numbers. It’s also regularly used as a reason why GMs fudge rolls as in: “I don’t usually fudge rolls, but the dice were misbehaving and we were close to a TPK…”. I personally have a love/hate relationship with dice. I enjoy crunching the math on die systems and figuring out optimal choices based on […]


Here are some misfit robots for your game. They span several genres, but all are fun and colorful and a little silly. SP1kE (Sentient Prototype 1000 Experiment): Lacking hardware that could handle the complex processing required to run a robot, the designers of SP1kE used an organic stand in; a preserved brain. SP1kE is the first prototype of a failed line using a human brain. Discontinued due to design failures and the difficulty in securing raw materials fresh enough to be usable, the SP1kE line was […]


It’s time for another short adventure. This one has an old-school feel with a lazily named hybrid monster, the owlid (part owl, part squid). It’s a mix of combat and social encounters for your group and is also a classically styled shaggy-dog story, cementing it firmly in dadventure territory. Background: A small village bordering heavy woodland holds an annual hunt to thin out the dangerous owlid population. This year the infestation is exceptionally bad so they have sent out the call for aid. Owlid: Who […]


I recently came across some old PDFs while organizing and backing up some of my files. One of them was the complete rules to Cave Adventures, a role playing game I co-authored back in 1990 with Dave, my best friend for a large part of my childhood. At the time both of us were thirteenish. We wanted to run a DnD game for our classmates as a class project and while our teacher was behind the idea there was one problem: DnD and all related […]