Author: Kurt "Telas" Schneider

About Kurt "Telas" Schneider

Kurt Schneider played D&D in 1979 at summer camp, and was hooked. He lives with his wife, daughters, and dog in Austin TX, where he writes stuff, and tries to stay get fit. Look for his rants under the nom de web Telas or TelasTX. Quote: “A game is only as balanced – or as good – as the GM."


In which a Gnome departs, and is probably a bit overly-dramatic about the whole thing. Sometimes, you need to see physical evidence of something that has been under the surface the whole time before you recognize it. When Martin asked me to find my three favorite articles for the Christmas break, I was pretty shocked at how few I had actually written this year. After the shock and guilt wore off, I realized that I’m just not as into gaming as I once was. Many […]


“I reject your reality, and substitute my own.” – Paul Bradford, The Dungeonmaster (later quoted by Mythbuster Adam Savage) Matt’s recent article on reality got me thinking. We game masters define or at least direct the collective reality of our gaming group; defining the rules of magic or super-science is old hat. So why are we regularly tripped when someone asks why the goblins are multiplying far too soon to have recovered from their last butt-kicking? Because – Science! A shared artificial reality is easier […]


Two quick stories: My wife watches a fair amount of "redecorating television," and I’ll admit to being sucked into a show or two. One of the recurring plots of this type of show involves designers who do not listen to the clients. Instead, they often decorate to impress other designers, or build the living space that they would prefer, instead of what the clients asked for in the first place.  For a year, my college roommate was a drama jock. He would go on for […]

Stuck on a Rock

The puzzle really shouldn’t be that difficult. They have all the clues. Heck, you saw them write them down. The players are all veteran problem-solvers. Your spouse figured it out during a commercial break. (Your kid was even faster, but don’t tell your spouse.) But there they are, nearly an hour later, still futzing with it. They have now come up with so many wrong answers that they’ll never solve it. And you know they’ll just hate it when you give them the answer. Crap, […]


If you’re anything like me, your enthusiasm level for a campaign follows a pretty predictable path. The campaign is born around a concept that really grabs you. It blossoms into full-blown excitement for a few months, during which the ideas are popping up like weeds in the springtime, and it seems that this campaign could go on forever. Then, about a month or two after the campaign itself begins, your level of enthusiasm peaks, and starts to taper off. Hopefully, it’s a very gradual taper, […]


At the risk of being ‘that guy,’ I’m going to tell you about my campaign. My gaming group recently wrapped up our 1980s Anomaly Adjustment Agency campaign. This was my first non-fantasy campaign since junior high school, and my first modern campaign ever. It ran for 18 months, went places I never expected in-game, and had a few unexpected out-of-game moments. Here are a few of the lessons I learned while preparing and running this campaign. Inspirations The three biggest inspirations for the campaign were […]


Run a campaign for long enough, and one of these will happen: Your players will ignore every subtle (and not-so-subtle) hint you throw at them, and do That One Thing that will tank the entire campaign. For whatever reason, the party swallows the Blue Pill, lets the Ringwraiths get the Ring, or vaporizes New Tokyo. Those opponents you created to challenge the party are a bit too challenging, and half the party is dead or dying by the end of the first round. Chalk it […]