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What’s Changed in Your Gaming Life Since Gnome Stew’s First Article?

Posted By Martin Ralya On February 10, 2010 @ 2:42 am In Crock Pot | 11 Comments

I looked up at our little counter this morning and saw that as of February 9th, Gnome Stew had published 599 articles.

We’re all eyeballs-deep in our secret project right now, and I think I’ve cracked the whip over my fellow gnomes’ backs enough over the last few months, so I thought I’d give them a break and make #600 a short article asking a simple, reflective question:

What has changed in your gaming life since Gnome Stew’s very first article, which went up on May 12, 2008?

I’ll start.

Uno: My group lost a player due to a move, but after a few months he moved back. He owns all the D&D miniatures, so I made a healthy investment in rebuilding our stockpile like the day before he announced his return. Bastard. (I kid — he’s a great friend, and it’s fantastic to have him back.)

We did player interviews while he was gone, and this time around they didn’t work out. Even so, I stand behind the interview method I’ve used for years, and the best tool in any player-hunter’s arsenal: NearbyGamers.

Dos: I also ran the most successful game in my 20+ years as a GM, inspired in large part by what I’ve learned from writing articles on Treasure Tables and the Stew, and reading and learning from our readers.

If you’re curious how this game went down, you can read about it in three loosely connected articles here: So You Want to GM a Roleplaying-Intensive Game, Part 1, Ending a Campaign: Taking My Own Advice, and With a Bang: Ending a Campaign on Purpose (for the first time in 20 years).

Trois: Somehow, organically (though again the Stew played a role), I’ve learned a lot more about my gaming tastes in general. I wish I could pin this down and share a few links in the process, but it’s a fuzzy target.

All I know is that a combination of writing about gaming, doing plenty of it on both sides of the screen, having a baby (which focuses your attention on the most important things you can do in your dramatically reduced free time!), and possibly some kind of adult-like growth, I relax and have more fun playing games — or writhe in agony when I play something that I now see clearly a festering pile of shit (hello, GenCon 2009!).

Fore!: Because I’m a ginormous cocktease, I’ll throw in a fourth item for good measure: Working on Gnome Stew’s secret project — which is now nearing completion — has been an amazing experience for me as a gamer. It’s a lot like when I got my first freelance job back in 2004: it’s changed my relationship with gaming. We can’t wait to share this one with you!

Those are my big four. How about you?

About  Martin Ralya

A father, husband, writer, small-press publisher, former RPG industry freelancer, and lifelong geek, Martin has been gaming since 1987 and GMing since 1989. He lives in Utah with his amazing wife Alysia and their awesome daughter Lark in a house full of books and games.




11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "What’s Changed in Your Gaming Life Since Gnome Stew’s First Article?"

#1 Comment By Rookie On February 10, 2010 @ 7:09 am

well .. for starters .. I even started GMing :D and after only a few sessions of playing as a PC I was kinda forced to take a GM role so i started and it turned out that I have talent for that :D I also learned tons of neat tricks from reading your articles and comments :D so, thank you, Stew for helping me promote my RPG player career :D

Long live the STEW!! :D

ps. congrats for the 600th article :D

#2 Comment By shadowacid On February 10, 2010 @ 7:16 am

Having our first child has been the biggest change for us as gamers. We’ve had to change our gaming location, time frame, and game length to accommodate having a little one who easily distracts from my GMing and is cute enough (and knows it) to distract the female members of our crew.

#3 Comment By Lee Hanna On February 10, 2010 @ 8:42 am

I’ve scraped up enough time to resume GMing after a 2-year hiatus. I am still struggling to find the time to integrate or synthesize the many good ideas here, but life is always a challenge.

#4 Comment By Razjah On February 10, 2010 @ 9:44 am

For me, since I started reading The Stew, I’ve picked up GMing. I’m currently running Mouse Guard. I’ve become president of my schools RPG club, which I used a lot of the information here to help decide what systems to buy.

I’ve learned about what kind of player and GM I am, and I’ve found a group who plays very similarly so we all enjoy just about everything during the session.

#5 Comment By drow On February 10, 2010 @ 11:17 am

i wrapped up my eberron campaign, and am playing in a friend’s D&D 4e campaign. being on the other side of the screen is a blast, and i have plenty of time to work on my next campaign. possibly too much time, since i have two well-developed concepts, and about a dozen secondary concepts.

#6 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On February 10, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

My daughter was born, I fell in lust with Savage Worlds (and started a campaign with it), and foolishly agreed to work on a Secret Project with a ginormous cocktease.

#7 Comment By BryanB On February 10, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

My wife played in and enjoyed her first D&D game. Now she is asking about super hero games and is very interested in the new Dr. Who RPG. We are even thinking about attending GenCon this year. She might turn into a real gamer if she keeps this up. :D

#8 Comment By Bluedress On February 10, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

My boyfriend ran me two short campaigns, and my keeping up on so many awesome RPG blogs convinced me to return the favor and wear the DM hat myself. :D

#9 Comment By Bercilac On February 11, 2010 @ 1:46 am

In my time as reader I’ve run one major campaign, a mini-campaign (only 3 or 4 adventures), and a few one-offs. I’ve moved countries (from Scotland to Australia) which has forced me to find an entirely new gaming group, a bittersweet process.

I’ve found that reading the Stew has made me think about the FORM of my games as well as their content. I always like writing campaigns as some sort of allegory for a political or historical problem I’m interested in (slave rebellions, rural/urban divides, theocracy…). At the same time, I like to look at the party as historical subjects. The Stew has helped me to structure my campaign worlds and adventuring arcs a lot better, so I can unfold the ideas I’m interested in, while allowing player input to the progress of the plot.

Recently I’ve done the unthinkable: I’ve left D&D. I think most of us were introduced to RPGs via Gygax’s creation, in some incarnation. (There are exceptions, but it seems to be at least the ASSUMED norm). So now it is with great excitement and trepidation that I prepare to embark on a FUDGE campaign. This is mostly due to the fact that I’ve only figured out a few basic rule concepts. I will in fact be Fudging the rules quite liberally. My confidence to do this comes from experience, but also in a large part from reading the Stew, which has helped me reflect on the role of the GM, the role of rules, and most importantly… have fun.

#10 Comment By trisj On February 11, 2010 @ 10:58 am

Well, since 2008, we lost a player and gained two. By doing so we got our cousins to game. Our kid growing older put new obstacles in our gaming careers and then we moved many, many states away. New job for the husband/Main DM and lack of friends who have time has put us in gamer hibernation, where we are throwing ideas around for our own games, systems and thinking about running different systems.

#11 Comment By outrider11 On February 14, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

The biggest was becoming unemployed. It hasnt changed the gaming yet but depending on what I can get, it may come to a halt.

I have done my first chat games. Its been an interesting experience. I find that there are things that I do like about chat. Other things I don’ care for.

I restarted my 3.5 game by advancing it about 1500 years into the future and some major envirnomental and magical changes.

I also got into pathfinder which I am running as a chat game.


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