Author: Walt Ciechanowski


Walt Ciechanowski

About Walt Ciechanowski

Walt’s been a game master ever since he accidentally picked up the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set in 1982. He became a freelance RPG writer in 2005 and is currently the Victoriana Line Developer for Cubicle 7. Walt lives in Springfield, PA with his wife Helena and their three children, Leianna, Stephen, and Zoe.

GMingAdvice04

I was reading Phil’s article when it occurred to me that there was one “leader” missing in his analysis: the Host. The Host wields a lot of power at the gaming table and she isn’t necessarily the Game Master; heck, she may not even be a player. The Host is simply the person providing the gaming space for the session. Game Masters often like to think that they’re the ones with the ultimate control, but the Host, if they aren’t one and the same, can […]

GMingAdvice012

Assume that you are invited to join a Star Wars campaign (RPG system doesn’t matter for this exercise). As you sit down, the GM mentions that the first movie (Star Wars IV: A New Hope) is the only canonical source. The GM then informs you that the campaign starts a few months after the destruction of the Death Star. The galaxy is plunged into chaos as the Rebel Alliance discovered that Grand Moff Tarkin had been head of a military coup that had been manipulating […]

GMingAdvice05

In ages past, when all-in-one boxed sets were common and character sheets were bought in packs, it was safe to assume that some flavor of Dungeons & Dragons was the gateway into an imaginary world of fantasy roleplaying adventure for most gamers. It’s where we learned that a character was more than a piece to be pushed around a board (although there was still plenty of that) and to think critically lest a random trap send us back to the books for a new character. […]

GMingAdvice05

With the release of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition I’ve decided to run a fantasy campaign again. One of the things that’s bothered me about D&D and its emulators over the last decade or so is that they don’t “feel” medieval. When every village has clerics with magical healing powers and every city has magic item shops, one wonders why the setting remains medieval/renaissance? I do realize that I’m overgeneralizing and that its been possible to run medieval settings; it just hasn’t been intuitive for […]

Gaming Conventions

Hey all! This year’s GenCon was a whirlwind for me! I worked the Cubicle 7 booth in addition to my usual event-coordinating/running and meetings. I got to visit one of my favorite steakhouses with my fellow Gnomies (and met an epic waiter!) and finally tried Fogo de Chao. I was also fortunate enough to collect a couple of ENnies (a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who voted!). In addition, GenCon boasted record attendance again, easily crushing last year’s count. I have no doubt that this […]

GMingAdvice04

If you find yourself ending an adventure with significant session time to spare, do you stop short or introduce the next adventure? For most of my GMing life I’ve been in the “if there’s enough game-time to set a scene or two then do it” camp. If everyone set aside four hours to game and the adventure ended with over an hour to spare, then why not launch into something new, especially if the PCs don’t have to do a lot of bookkeeping in between […]

GMingAdvice012

Next month I’ll be running several events at GenCon (primarily Victoriana, which is near and dear to my roleplaying heart!). Whenever I run events, I have several goals in mind, including 1) ensuring everyone that plays has a good time, 2) an adventure is completed, 3) the players get the ‘experience’ of playing the game, and 4) I never have to crack open a book at the table. This last point usually consumes a lot of my prep time. I try to make my character […]