Gnome Rodeos are the Stew’s periodic link roundups — articles packed with pointers to excellent GMing material we think you’ll enjoy.
We usually feature a few regulars plus our favorite discoveries from around the web, all with an eye to making your time behind the screen easier and more fun.
If you wrote or read something you’d like to see featured here, drop us a line. There’s some awesome stuff for GMs out there, and we love to share.
Dungeon Mastering: Yax is running another promotion for his DMing Tools website: sign up for a premium account between now and July 30th, and you’ll get two free Adventure Art e-books from Mythic Design. If you already run a paperless D&D game (or wish you did), take a peek.
You can use many aspects of the site for free, but there are also premium memberships; here are the differences. I wrote about DMing Tools back in May (including the legendary Throbbing Gnomish Monster), the last time Yax ran a promotion.
Side note: If you sign up using our links to DMing Tools, Yax sends us money. We then roll up the bills and use them to do blow off each other’s
boners magic wands. Wingardium *snoooort* Leviosa!
Roleplaying Tips: I have mixed feelings about the feature article in the latest issue, Mess with Your Players’ Heads. On the one hand, it will work as intended for some groups; on the other hand, it won’t work at all in many others. I can see this kind of campaign being fun just for you, the GM, until it slows the game down to a crawl and becomes fun for no one. Your mileage may vary, of course.
The feature piece from the previous issue, however — Creating Adventures from Small Ideas — is clever, fun, and demands to be tried out. The example really seals the deal.
Musings of the Chatty DM: Chatty has being doing a monster series, part nine of which is now up: Robin Laws Revisited, Part 9: Conclusions (His and Mine). He’s been looking at Robin’s Laws of Good Game Mastering from the standpoint of comparing how Chatty sees GMing now, in 2009, with how Robin saw it in 1999. Good stuff.
Witty Tagline Involving Gnomes in Some Way
Nevermet Press: Nevermet Press is a new publishing venture from Jonathan Jacobs, the driving force behind Open Game Table: The Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs. It’s a collaborative, community-based company, except that unlike others Jonathan actually has the stones to pull it off. Here’s their mission:
Nevermet Press is dedicated to the creation of system independent content for table top roleplaying games. We have boiled the formula for adventure down to its base elements: villains and encounters. These elements and supporting components, such as equipment and organizations, are developed so that a Game Master can integrate them into new or existing campaigns with ease.
The name is a play on working with people you’ve never met in real life — and thus far it seems to be working out nicely. Jonathan has a “lightning in a bottle” quality to him that makes his work well worth checking out — he knows how to turn good ideas into reality, and it shows in Nevermet’s material.
HeroMachine 3 Alpha: No, it’s not a Street Fighter game — if you’ve never heard of Hero Machine before, it’s one of the best free character portrait creators on the web. If you have heard of it before, the latest version may surprise you — it certainly surprised the shit out of me. HeroMachine has always been nifty, but the level of detail and the number of options available (including a host for genres other than supers, like fantasy) is just awesome.
Advice for New DMs Only!: Newbie DM dishes D&D tips for neophyte GMs. Ignore the hook, though it’s a good one: Even if you’ve been around the block, these tips are solid.
Monte Cook on being a better GM: ENnie-nominated blog Critical Hits liveblogged Monte Cook’s Origins Game Fair talk on how to be a better GM (can you tell I save up links for these rodeos?), and it’s awesome.
Roleplaying with Miniatures: Fascinating discussion on Claw/Claw/Peck, seen via Mike Mearls’ Twitter feed.
Free PDF: Burning Wheel’s Duel of Wits system: Want to try out one of the best aspects of one of the most fun RPGs ever made? BW’s Duel of Wits system is not only eminently driftable into your RPG of choice, it’s produced some of the best gaming I’ve ever seen or done, and it’s an absolute blast in play. You can snag the PDF of this chapter from BW for free from the BW store — though I recommend the whole game.
Five Ways to Make Your Players’ Lives Easier: Jonathan Drain serves up simple, cogent, useful advice. Number five is the winner: “Be co-operative and willing to compromise. If your player is dead set on playing a drow in a campaign that you have the drow set up as the main villains, don’t say no—instead, find a way to make it work.” Amen to that.
…and if you like bite-sized GMing tips and ideas, don’t miss Gnome Stew’s Twitter feed (@gnomestew).