Category: GMing Advice


In many stories in books, on television, and in the movies, the protagonists are often dealt one or more setbacks before the story reaches its climax. In these cases the writer crafts specific events with an intended purpose and outcome. In Role Playing Games, we GM’s often rely on the players to create their own setbacks during a session and within a campaign through bad rolling and impulsive decision making, but there are times the GM wants to write a setback into the game. Depending on […]

Nutrition Label

Over the last few years, I’ve been a fan of creating worlds together or otherwise drawing players into world creation. Our big crusade against the Evil Dwarven Empire was based on a world that we created together, using Dawn of Worlds. When we tried out Diaspora, we only got as far as Cluster Creation, but that alone was fun. Our Primetime Adventures game, Time Preservers, was a show that we created at the table–nothing any of us could have come up with alone. Skills Not […]

"Secrets to Success" by Celestine Chua Some Rights Reserved

Whenever I run a game, I want to make sure it is the best possible game I can run. I want players walking away talking about it and ready for the next session. Maybe 1 in 5 games goes this way, even when I wing it, but it is always rewarding when it all comes together. The other week I was talking to a friend of mine who is getting into GMing. He was lamenting the lack of positive response to his games. We talked […]


When my gaming group and I see that a game is going to fall through because some people didn’t show or the Game Master wasn’t feeling it that night, we default to a card game called Sentinels Of The Multiverse. One of the biggest draws of this game is that it is cooperative. No one has to run it, the enemies actions are controlled by drawing from a terrain deck and a villain deck, determining what happens and what damage is dealt based on the […]


Today is my birthday. I’m 42 years old and have been a gamer now for over 32 years. Birthdays are a good time for reflection, so this year I thought I’d reflect on my GMing experiences and see how my style has evolved along the way. My journey began with a happy accident. I picked up a copy of the Moldvay Basic edition of Dungeons & Dragons believing it to be this, as I’d seen it on a commercial. Imagine my surprise when I opened […]

Power Cards

Many years ago my wife and I invested in a nondescript color inkjet printer, one that did border-less photos and had a good feature set. The thinking was to print out photos and do a bit of scrap-booking. Well, time and a shift to a digital lifestyle mostly killed that dream, however the printer still gets a fair amount of use as my role-playing prop-maker! The 4×6 photo size—and 5×7 to a lesser extent—is nearly the perfect size for handouts. It’s roughly the size of […]


Today’s guest article is by Gnome Stew reader Kyle, a long-time role-player who lives out his days in the mountains of Western North Carolina. He has played many different games and GMs more than he plays. Thanks, Kyle! –Martin Not that kind of fresh blood. Not the kind that means you bring in new players to every campaign that you run. Rather the new blood that says “We are going to try something different.” While I am a huge fan of the baseline games that […]