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Thank You: My Gnome Stew Farewell, My New Year’s Resolution

This is the last article that I will write for Gnome Stew, and I wanted to use it to thank all of the Gnome Stew gang and the readers. At first I had plans to make some sort of grand statement regarding games, theories, and the state of RPGs in general, but I realized that such statements are exactly what our community does not need. Further segmenting RPG enthusiasts into different camps would only do more harm than good in the long run.

Writing for this site has been a pleasure. All of the gnomes and all of the fans have made this experience a great one. I am very grateful to all of you for what has been a marvelous opportunity for me. I have learned a great deal about writing, being a game master, and the art of blogging in general. All of the gnomes are great people to work with, and my departure is one of fond farewells from the project and not from the friendships. I will continue to be in contact with the remaining Gnomes, and I look forward to playing many a game with them at future conventions and online as well.

My Decision To Leave

I am resigning from Gnome Stew because I have too many projects and commitments. If I had more time between family, career, and life in general I would continue to write for Gnome Stew. I do not have that much time though, so I am focusing on the projects that I feel the most passionate about. I would rather do a few things very well instead of doing many things that are mediocre in quality.

What I Will Be Doing

I have a personal goal that I have been putting on the backburner for far too long now. I am a huge fan of the Fudge RPG and I have my own blog called SinisterForces [1]. SinisterForces is also a game system that I am designing based upon the Fudge RPG. I am working the kinks out of what I consider to be some pretty innovative Fudge mechanics. Besides designing the underlying game system I’m also working on a setting that blends steampunk with a Cthulhu-esque mythos.

The basic concept for the setting is that dark elder beings were resurrected and have nearly conquered reality, but this twisted and horrifying world is incomplete. Small groups of “untainted” beings still survive and are they are on the verge of learning the secrets of how their nemeses reform reality. It is a world full of dread and madness, but at the same time hope as the untainted make their last stand against the most ancient of evils.

My goal here is not to create something new, but to produce a game that I want to play. Hopefully others will enjoy it as well once it is published.

I will also continue to be the administrator for You Meet In A Tavern [2] (a forum for game masters where many of us gnomes met online when it was still Martin’s Treasure Tables [3]). YMIAT is a project that has also been on the backburner for far too long, and I want to see its membership grow. Expect to see new features added to YMIAT in the near future.

My New Year’s Resolution

This year my New Year’s resolution is to release a complete beta version of the SinisterForces text by December 31st, 2010. When it is ready I will be sure to contact my friends at Gnome Stew to drum up some interest in the game. Until that time I will be writing, revising, pulling my hair out, and running play test games at conventions when possible.

My Final Piece of Advice

Of course, I could not end this article without sharing some words of wisdom with the rest of you (at least I hope there is some wisdom in these words). You come to Gnome Stew for game mastering advice, and game mastering advice you shall receive! My advice to you is:

Always do your best to part on good terms.

You will probably have new players join your group, and old players leave. You may find yourself without any group at all one day, or perhaps too many people interested in playing in your game. The cycle of meeting people and parting ways others is endless.

When the time comes to go your separate ways try to make it a pleasant parting. At the end of your game session say “Thank you.” to the players, shake their hands and tell them that you enjoyed playing the game with them. Make the final act of the night’s session to extend an invitation to gather and play the game again.

If you play a game with others at a convention treat them kindly and with respect. Do not treat the game as a finite event where you play a game with strangers, but as an introduction that can result in lifelong friendships. You might want to handout an email address and invite people to stay in contact with you. In a world where relocation for work and school is becoming more and more common the people you meet at conventions may end up being a part of your regular group someday.

Even when you have to ask someone to leave your group, do your best to part on good terms. People and situations change. Someone that left your group a while back may rejoin the group, and both you and that person may discover that you get along better for some reason. Letting another person know that he or she can attempt to join the group again at a later date at least gives that person a possible incentive to change.

So part on good terms, and remember that the GM is a player too. Have fun with it!

9 Comments (Open | Close)

9 Comments To "Thank You: My Gnome Stew Farewell, My New Year’s Resolution"

#1 Comment By DNAphil On December 31, 2009 @ 8:17 am

Patrick– It has been an honor working with you on the Stew. Your honesty and candidness (read: blunt delivery) has always been insightful and in many cases downright hysterical.

Your GM advice has always been top notch, and refreshing. I look forward to seeing your work on Sinister Forces, and hope to share a drink and some dice at future GenCon’s.

While you won’t be writing here, you are always a Gnome.

#2 Comment By Scott Martin On December 31, 2009 @ 10:32 am

Well, you’re always a gnome until you convince some wizard to double your height!

More seriously, good luck with all of your projects and I hope you revel in the extra time with family and general life goodness.

#3 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On December 31, 2009 @ 10:49 am

You will be truly and sorely missed, sir. Don’t let the pointy red gnome hat get dusty!

#4 Comment By Rafe On December 31, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

From one Patrick to another, good luck with your projects!! I still gotta try out FUDGE one of these days… All the best in the New Year!

As an aside, I can’t believe it’s 2010. Remember when the Transformers cartoon was set in 2005 and, as a kid, you thought it was sooooo far away? Scary.

#5 Comment By Martin Ralya On December 31, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

You bastard! I can’t believe you didn’t warn me about this! Oh, wait… 😉

Seriously: I’m going to miss working with you on the Stew. It’s funny to think that we’ve been collaborating together for more than two years — maybe even more than three, considering Treasure Tables.

You rock, and on top of that you’re a stand-up guy, a great GM, an excellent writer, and I’m proud to say a friend.

#6 Comment By Patrick Benson On December 31, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

[4] – Yeah, blunt force is my method of choice. I wouldn’t be a very good surgeon.

Nurse – “Dr. Benson would you like a #10 blade?”
Me – “Nah, I’ll just beat the patient into good health.”


[5] – If I have my height doubled I would be 12 and a half feet tall. That wizard better have some high ceilings!

[6] – I wear the pointy red hat often. The wife has a thing for it. Who knew? 😉

[7] – Definitely try Fudge at least once. As for the year being 2010 already, well I want to know when I can work a “grueling” 4 hour day like George Jetson does! Wasn’t the future supposed to be easier?!?

[8] – I’m sorry Martin, but Halfling Soup made a much better offer. They are actually going to pay me! It will be with rusty coins made of tin, but that is still more then you ever offered you penny pinching mother…

…inner peace…

In all seriousness, this project has been a great one to be a part of! Thank you all for the kind words! A Happy New Year to each of you!

#7 Comment By Matthew J. Neagley On December 31, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

We’ll all miss you, and the Stew won’t be quite so chunky without you, but your motivation here is right on the money. I look forward to working with you on other projects, and following your successes in the future.

#8 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On December 31, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

We’ll miss you around here.

Good thing I’ll see you elsewhere on the net and in person!

#9 Comment By Patrick Benson On January 1, 2010 @ 8:40 am

[9] – Man, I hope to have some RPG related successes that are half as
noticeable as the Stew is. It is hard to walk away from a good thing in order to pursue your own stuff. Like leaving a good job to start your own business.

[10] – I have to come up with an excuse to visit Austin this year. We’ll definitely get together at Gen Con this year!