Category: GMing Advice

gnome

As a GM, we often want to run a different genre or try out a new mechanic. However, learning an entirely new system can be overwhelming. Believe it or not, creating a one-page system can be quicker. Think of it this way: if you can read 50 pages an hour, it will take you 6 hours to read a 300 page rulebook. Using the tips in this article, you can probably create a one-page system in about an hour. Now, we are not trying to […]

GMingAdvice03

In thinking more about last week’s piece on mise-en-place, I realized there was one more thing that I often do for the games that I run, that involves setting up a specific space for maximum effect: creating my GM Screen for the game. I don’t buy pre-made screens, rather I prefer to craft my own to ensure that it will have everything I need, where I need it. To Screen or Not To Screen There is some debate about having a GM screen vs. GMing […]

dnd basic

I was speaking with a friend who enjoys roleplaying, but hasn’t done a lot of it until recently (he’s first a board gamer, but loves a number of geeky games). He began running the Starter Set for friends, but given the other more recent releases, he was confused about what’s necessary, what’s required, what’s optional, etc. for D&D. Joe, and anyone else who is wondering how to start off with this new edition of D&D, here’s my overview of what’s out there and what you […]

GMingAdvice03

This past week I was at Gen Con, and ran a few sessions of my fantasy world, Elhal. Convention games are always tricky, and something that we have talked about many times here on the Stew. This time around, I ran the same session of Elhal in both Fate and in Savage Worlds. In doing so, I realized all the physical implements that go into running these games, and how scarce space can be at a full table. In order to keep everyone’s focus and […]

GMingAdvice04

What’s more realistic? A group of heroes waits in a tavern until adventure finds them … … or a rich, well-connected patron provides them with the means to set out on the next adventure? As cliched as both options can be, I’ve been rethinking my aversion to using the patron as a means of hooking into an adventure. What’s caused this change of heart? I’m reading David Grann’s story of Victorian-era British explorer Percy Fawcett and his lifelong quest for “The Lost City of Z.” […]

frog_wizard2

I love pregenerated characters. They’re great for con games, online games, pick-up games, or when you need replacement characters after a TPK.  They’re an easy way to get new people gaming quickly.  Obviously you won’t use pregens in every game (more later), but they are handy to have around.  This article will talk about some ways to get the most out of your pregens, perhaps even for years and years.  We’ll first look at some things to consider when creating your pregens, then how to use […]

GMingAdvice012

A well-utilized signature monster can drive a campaign for a long time. The monster doesn’t necessarily need any exceptional abilities to be compelling. For example, savage orcs move the adventures along in Middle Earth and skulking goblins jump start things in Golarian. There is something very basic in this approach, as the enduring popularity of zombie movies shows. Many players find appealing the idea of brightly shining heroes beating back hordes of brutes that are parodies of true men. Not all monsters are outwardly monstrous. […]