Category: GMing Advice

GMingAdvice012

This summer, I went to two high school reunions. My own, dinner and drinks at a local tavern, and my wife’s, a picnic held at an old country barn. (1) I was reminded that the occasion of a reunion can serve as solid backstory to explain how an adventuring party comes together. While in real life, I don’t think any of my classmates would have jumped at a suggestion to form up ranks, designate one of us a cleric, and go then plunder the nearby […]

Lemley and Dr. Lobotomy

Two years ago, I asked Wil Wheaton a question. Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana was the answer. Okay, that’s a little more dramatic sounding than it actually was. On the last day of GenCon in 2013, I attended a TableTop Q&A hosted by Wheaton, the show’s personality, and Boyan Radakovich, the show’s producer. Even though TableTop was a huge hit (it was even presented with the Diana Jones Award that year), because it was a Sunday, there was a small enough crowd that it felt […]

GMingAdvice03

Recently, I have become interested in the idea of artifacts of play, those things that are part of the game that persist after the game has been played. They act like souvenirs of the game played; touchstones of the game, linking memories of adventures taken, challenges faced, and treasures gained. While most RPG’s have some kind of artifacts of play, I found myself looking for something different, something both collaborative and informational. This article contains my current thoughts on this topic. I cannot promise a […]

GMingAdvice04

Today’s guest article was written by Gnome Stew reader Mark Kernow, and it tackles a nifty topic: taking existing rules for characters and stretching them to encompass entire groups. He uses d20 System games as a reference point, but the concept is easily extended to other systems. Thanks, Mark! — Martin What if you treated factions like characters? You could easily introduce new factions into your campaign by giving them statistics and backgrounds similar to characters and monsters. You could build on existing rules and […]

GMingAdvice03

Have you ever designed a long, intricate campaign only to have it fall apart before it ever came close to seeing fruition? I know, it’s a rhetorical question. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to end a campaign far short of where I’d planned to end it. It can be frustrating to leave plot threads dangling, especially if you’d put a lot of work into it. I was reminded of this frustration with my current campaign, where I’ve specifically outlined my main […]

GMingAdvice012

Gen Con was a just a few weeks ago, marking the height of the convention season. This year, I was fortunate to play in a number of games, run by some great GM’s. But as with other years, I heard numerous complaints from people about games that were less enjoyable, and in some cases downright painful. After talking to different people about the games they played, and talking about what worked and did not work, I realized that a number of the issues that caused […]

GMingAdvice012

I prefer to GM without a screen. Mostly, it’s because I like to roll in the open, as it builds trust and fosters intimacy. I like the feel of being “part of the game” — in the company of others at the table. The screen, being a barrier, works against that. And yet, of late, I’ve had need of a screen. Maybe need is too strong a word, but for the section of Rise of Tiamat I’ve been running, the screen has been handy. So what […]