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How Samurai Work

The samurai are the legendary armored swordsmen of Japan, known to many westerners only as a warri­or class, as depicted in countless martial arts movies. While being a warrior was central to a samurai’s life, they were also poets, politicians,...

Gnomes At Gencon and You Pick It, We Review It 2015

While listening to Gencon Episode of The Misdirected Mark podcast last night with Christopher M. Sniezak and our own Phil Vecchione, Phil made mention of the You Pick It, We Review It posts that we’ve done from time to time here on the Stew. Show More Summary

Focal Point Preorders End July 30

If you’d like to preorder our latest book, Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions, time is running out: Preorders end July 30! When you preorder, I’ll send you the digital edition within 24 hours. Show More Summary

How To Win On Cutthroat Kitchen

Watching Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen can be frustrating for gamers — the contestants may be great chefs, but they don’t know crap about using the rules of a game to maximize their chances of victory. If you’re appearing on the....

True Detective — Church in Ruins

“Cross that one off the bucket list — a Mexican standoff with actual Mexicans.” Frank’s sardonic sense of humor not withstanding, I don’t have a lot to say about this week’s True Detective. It was pretty disappointing, poorly written, badly...

Colonial Inspiration

Given that this was my last weekend before leaving for Gen Con I was looking for something fun to do with my kids on Saturday. My wife suggested the Colonial Plantation, which I’d never been to in spite of it being only about 15-20 minutes away from our house. Show More Summary

The Best Motor Oil for the Average Car

Motor oil is a tough subject because of the complex chemistry involved and the difficulty seeing the actual effects of different formulations or brands. To solve this puzzle, I threw out everything I thought I knew about oil and spent...

Never Look A Gift Orc In The Mouth

The name of the dashing green fellow in the picture to the right is South. He and a bunch of his friends showed up at a game of The One Ring that I ran at Origins this year. South showed up just like this, in full Orc makeup from a larp he was involved with earlier. Show More Summary

Convention Survival Tips – GM Edition

GenCon officially starts in under a week and I’m freaking out. It’s a good kind of freaking out. The kind where I look at a random nerdy friend and grin like a maniac and yell, “CONNNNNNN!!!” at a loud volume. Luckily the non-nerdy people around me are mostly used to my eccentricities by now. Show More Summary

Film Review — The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

I was expecting the usual remake, something with more realistic gore effects and blandly pretty actors than the original, but not as much grit or soul. But this odd meta-sequel surprised me. To begin, this isn’t a remake at all,...

After Action: Primetime Adventures

I recently completed a pair of short series of Primetime Adventure games, whose beginnings were described in Pitching Primetime Adventures: Two Recent Series. A Brief Recap Primetime Adventures is an independent roleplaying game, first published back in 2004, which proved to be an instant hit in the indie-roleplaying scene. Show More Summary

True Detective — Other Lives

What seemed to be a kind of boring procedural episode held a huge, bizarre clue that things might be weirder than they seem. Once again it’s all about surface and submersion. I’ll admit, even as a self-proclaimed True Detective fanboy,...

Troy’s Crock Pot:  Why does the dog bark II?

Well, our initial look at flavor text for cues to roleplaying monsters differently generated a good response. So here are some more to utilize in your game. Good dragons gone bad Sometimes it is fun to pit the PCs against a metallic dragon. Show More Summary

Filing The Serial Numbers Off

I love movies, comics, and books, and it never fails that as I am consuming them, my mind grabs on to parts and tries to drag them into the campaign I am running. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and that is true, but what is also true is that putting something anachronistic into your game breaks immersion. Show More Summary

Aerial Maps and Your Game

Recently I needed a forest road map for an encounter, and my creativity was running a bit low. The best I could come up with was the standard “road with trees on either side.” Online aerial maps helped me break out of the creative slump, and I thought I’d share some of my observations here. Show More Summary

Decrypting the Cypher System Part 3 (GM Section)

With this installment, I’ve finished reading the Cypher System book. It’s taken me about a month to complete. Given that the claim of the system is to take a lot of work off the plate of the GM, I was initially concerned with the size of the book (416 pages). Show More Summary

Hands On With Hero Forge

Quite some time back, I did an interview with some of the people behind Hero Forge, a very successful kickstarter that funded the creation of a website and printing solution for creating custom miniatures. Playing many games that have characters that don’t fit standard molds, the concept intrigued me greatly. Show More Summary

True Detective — Down Will Come

My grand theory about this season finally begins to take shape. I want to spend most of my time talking about the grand theory, but there are a few plot points and clues to cover first. Frank’s storyline about going...

Focal Point Preorder Updates: Proof in Hand, Ebook Version Now Ready

Preorders for our newest book, Focal Point: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Running Extraordinary Sessions, are chugging right along! We’ve taken 63 preorders so far — thank you to everyone who has preordered so far! Ebook versions...Show More Summary

The Trouble with Trolls

“Through the darkness lumbers a large humanoid creature with a rough, green hide. Its glaring face has a pointed chin and a crooked nose, while each finger ends in a claw.” “Oh, it’s a troll. Who’s got acid or fire magic?” “Your character wouldn’t know that!” More than a few players have stifled a sigh at that admonishment. Show More Summary

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