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

Here’s my dirty little GMing secret – I burn out quickly. I launch into a new campaign with great enthusiasm, boning up on the period and genre, purchasing all the supplementary material I can get my hands on, crafting a world, and putting an epic campaign into place. My problem is that my enthusiasm only seems to last for three or four months before I start getting antsy for the Next Awesome Campaign. For a weekly game, this isn’t much of a problem and even […]

GMingAdvice05

During my last session of D&D, metagaming reared its ugly head again. My players were attacked by a couple of black dragons, and one of my players briefed the others on what tactics to use and what kind of breath weapon this particular type of dragon had, in spite of this being a low fantasy setting and the character having no idea what a black dragon was. I think it’s fair to say that most GMs wouldn’t appreciate that, and I responded by yanking away the […]

GMingAdvice03

I recently found myself chatting about my RPG glory days when I had little responsibilities and plenty of time to game. Up into high school (I started gaming at 9) it wasn’t unusual for me to play daily. These tended to be short sessions (under 3 hours), and there was a time when, in addition to the after school game I also ran an in-school group through a module during lunch breaks. Even through college, I managed to play regularly. I always had at least […]

GMingAdvice01

Recently my wife posted an article on Facebook about how different parenting was when we were kids and now. I’ve seen several similar articles and sentiments in the past, most of which boiled down to “our parents made us play outside more often.” Such articles reminded me of my early days of gaming, where a group of friends and I would want to play only to find that we had no place to play. Our parents wanted us all out of the house. I began […]

GMingAdvice05

During my last session one of my players was trying to pick between two powers to use against a foe and, in the process of debating, asked me what he needed to hit. Without thinking I blurted out the number. I was caught off-guard; normally I don’t share those things, and I was pretty upset about it (more with me for responding without thinking than with him for asking). I was upset because I like to keep the players guessing. I don’t like to let […]

GMingAdvice012

Do you let your villains make mistakes? Whenever I design an adventure I often create flawed villains with exploitable weaknesses. This way, I have something for an inquisitive player character to uncover and use against her, or I have a few flawed personality traits that I can work into her encounter with the PCs. What I do sometimes forget is that my villains, like the heroes opposing them, can often fall prey to bad dice rolls. I used to think that in order to challenge […]

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 […]