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.

GMingAdvice03

Have you ever found yourself standing at the crossroads? When the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons arrived I jumped right into gamemastering a new campaign. I decided that rather than play through published materials I’d design my own campaign that revolved around a world-shaking Event and the continuing world-reshaping fallout from that event. I put a lot of thought into it and hammered out a broad outline (I like to fill in details as I go to incorporate the reactions from my players) that would span […]

GMingAdvice05

New Year’s Day is usually seen as a time of resolutions, where we promise to do some things differently than we have in the past. As gamers, it’s also an opportunity for resolutions. Maybe we’ll finally try the FATE system for the first time, maybe we’ll play more and GM less (or vice versa), or maybe we’ll run and conclude that epic campaign that’s been in the back of our heads. The New Year is also a time for reflection. What went really well in […]

GMingAdvice012

Anyone who’s played any edition of Dungeons & Dragons or its derivatives are familiar with the concept of the side quest. Whether generated through a random encounter roll, the need for members of the group to kill some time because Regina and Claude couldn’t make the session, or the GM simply noting that the players are ill-equipped or lack enough experience to move forward, side quests provide a means for the player characters to gain a bit of experience and possibly a new item or […]

GMingAdvice05

Happy Holidays! Here in America, the holiday season is in full swing. It traditionally starts with the end of Thanksgiving on Black Friday, when many retailers jump-start the shopping season with incredible deals, but it’s been slowly bleeding into Thanksgiving and beyond (several radio stations have been playing Christmas music well before Thanksgiving). Religiously, it’s the first day of Advent as I write this, which is the start of the new Christian liturgical year. Regardless of one’s beliefs, it’s undeniable that areas with a significant […]

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. […]