Category: GMing Advice

Guess which characters were played by women. (Drawn by Chris Mann, one of the players from the game. Used with permission.)

When we’re first introduced to gaming, we’re told we can play any character we want and our imagination (and the system) is the only limit. Your character can be anyone you want them to be! Do you want to be a brawny fighter despite struggling to carry a 40lb bag of kitty litter from the car to the house in real life? Go for it! Do you want to be a brilliant scientist despite flunking chemistry back in high school? Absolutely! Do you want to […]

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A minor kafuffle went on in the RPG blogging community recently over the concept of the 7.5 hit point orcish standard. I don’t think that’s what anyone else called it. That just seems like a good name to me.  The original premise is this: If you’re an orc, or some other common low level fodder one hit die wonder, and you roll a one for hit points, you’re screwed. At some point you’re going to trip and hit your head on a rock, get into […]

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In our GMing strangeness, we all have a pet monster. Some monster that appeals to us — and to be perfectly honest — to us alone. You bring out this monster and the players around the table may even roll their eyes, as if to say: “That thing, again.” It’s fair to say the flumph falls into this category. So do a lot of first edition Fiend Folio selections for the old guard players. The logic of the monster’s insertion into the story doesn’t even […]

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Recently I was a judge of the Two Page Tabletop Contest over at Top Secret games. The parameters of the contest are simple – create a complete tabletop RPG with setting in 2 8.5 by 11 pages. Someone has to be able to pick it up and be able to play it without referencing rules somewhere else and it has to have a setting of some sort. Not an easy task by any means, but the contest got just under a hundred entries and judging […]

We recently had a chance to play an interesting scenario, set in an interesting time. We played a Deadlands: Noir scenario set in 1935 New Orleans. We’re a group that has played together for years, though our Savage Worlds experience isn’t extensive. While the characters were new to us (we were testing out pre-gens for a con scenario), we’re quite comfortable with each other as players. Despite that advantage, we hit a rough patch where one of the players felt de-protagonized due to the intersection […]

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As far as random generators go, here’s an oldie but a goody worth revisiting. GMs run the gamut when it comes to their appreciation for compiling random encounter charts. For some, it’s an hour well-spent, a selection of monsters and NPC’s that fits perfectly with the next adventure you plan on running. If the adventure is one you devised, then it further enforces your vision of the fantasy world you are presenting to the players. But even if it is a  published product, a custom […]

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Let’s talk about pacing. It’s a subject that’s come up before here on the Stew for very good reason. You can check out some of the previous articles on the subject here, here, and heck, just do a search for ‘pacing’. From the number of times the subject has been broached, it’s obvious pacing is a key skill that GMs need to develop for their figurative toolbox. A good handle on pacing can turn a just okay game into something fantastic that the players will […]