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The Best of Gnome Stew, 2009: Part 1 of 5

Our annual Christmas break (12/24 to 1/3, back to normal posting on 1/4) is in full swing, so while we’re off shagging dwarves spending quality time with our favorite liquors families, we’re serving up the best of the nearly 300 articles we wrote in 2009.

Whether you’ve been reading the Stew since we launched in May 2008 or just discovered us yesterday, there is a LOT of GMing material here (I believe the correct term is “a metric shit-ton”). Eighteen months in, I’m still floored by how much the gang has written.

Like last year, we wanted to take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of our favorite articles — specifically, three from each gnome, for a total of 27. From today through the end of the year, you can look forward to five articles like this one, two articles from Patrick, and my usual State of the Stew summary.

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and a very happy New Year from us gnomes!

Matthew Neagley

1. You Think You Know a Genre… [1]: Edging out a few other memorable articles that I roughly classify as “fun”, You Think is one of those little discoveries that you just can’t wait to share with anyone and everyone who will listen.

2. Improve Your Game – Guaranteed [2]: How can I not choose as a favorite the article that Wil Wheaton tweeted about [3]? My entire geek career has been/will be downhill from that point. That aside, Guaranteed holds one of those all too easy to forget tidbits that holds true for not only gaming, but most aspects of life, and it’s a constant argument to get your butt back in the GMs chair.

3. The Piracy Article – Landlubbers Version [4]: Given an issue with as complicated underpinnings as piracy has it’s unsurprising that opinions on this one weren’t unanimous, but It’s a can of worms I’m glad we opened. Thanks to excellent reader comments we came away with plenty of great ideas on this difficult issue.


1. The Triple Constraint of a Campaign [5]: This article took my work world and merged it to my gaming world. The result put into words the reason why a number of my campaigns failed, because I failed to take into account the triple constraint of campaigns. I think that a lot of people jump into a campaign, without treating it like a project, and doing some planning up front. A little planning goes a long way, and makes for a happy GM, and players.

2. The Rebound Game [6]: This piece was fun to write, because I have experienced the Rebound Game a number of times in my GM career. It was not until this year, that I realized that they were rebounds. I suspect that a number of GM’s have experienced the same thing. Also, I thought I would give an update on how its going with Corporation and I (read the article). I am still running Corporation, and the campaign is doing great. The game is on hiatus for the holidays but returns with a bang in January.

3. PC Transformations: Or How Gandalf Became a White Wizard [7]: I am sure I am not the only GM to have a player that never makes the right character the first time, and then is dying to change his character. For me, one of my best players, suffers from this, to the point where I typically build in some mechanism for his change into every new campaign. It then was only natural to pass this experience on to all of you.

1 Comment (Open | Close)

1 Comment To "The Best of Gnome Stew, 2009: Part 1 of 5"

#1 Comment By Kurt “Telas” Schneider On December 27, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

Martin Ralya – Eighteen months in, I’m still floored by how much the gang has written.

It’s the Christmas break, Martin. We all know that you’re floored from the “Everclear Eggnog”…