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.

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When we last left off, I had prepped for a fantasy horror campaign with the cypher system rules. This time around, I prepped a session, invited over a group of friends with a variety of levels of experience with RPGs, made characters and ran a game. Session prep took the form of loose half page descriptions of four locations that were likely to be important to the session as well as names and descriptions of characters likely found in those locations, a few miscellaneous notes, […]

Gaming Conventions

Here’s a quick Gnome Spotting update: September 4th-6th I’ll be in Harrisburg PA, at Save Against Fear 2015 running some games of 1000 Blank White Cards. I’ve never been before (I didn’t even know about it!) but luckily, one of their special guests is an old college friend of mine and he tipped me off about it. If you go, feel free to hunt me down and say Hello. I’ll even wear my official Gnome Stew t-shirt to make it easy to tell you’ve got […]

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Since the last part of this series I’ve been doing prep work for running a game. On the one hand, the pitch for the Cypher System is that it’s easy for GMs with minimal work. On the other, the front end prep the book recommends for a game seems pretty heavy, so I was curious how things would shake out. Let’s start with the Campaign Design Worksheet. This sheet is included at the end of the rulebook and it has places for most of the […]

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With this installment, I’ve finished reading the Cypher System book. It’s taken me about a month to complete. Given that the claim of the system is to take a lot of work off the plate of the GM, I was initially concerned with the size of the book (416 pages). I feel I can now adequately speak to those concerns: Everything in the book is worth reading, even the parts you won’t use for your game. But, if you’re interested primarily in pushing through and […]

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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 […]

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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 […]