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An Apology to Some Min-Maxers

One of the side-effects of playing a large number of games, and starting to design your own, is that you start to see what the mechanics of a specific game are doing or not doing. As my understanding of game mechanics has begun to grow,...Show More Summary

3 Zany Robots for Your Game

Here are some misfit robots for your game. They span several genres, but all are fun and colorful and a little silly. SP1kE (Sentient Prototype 1000 Experiment): Lacking hardware that could handle the complex processing required to run a robot, the designers of SP1kE used an organic stand in; a preserved brain. Show More Summary

Gnome Stew in Spanish, Thanks to Bastión Rolero

Bastión Rolero, an excellent Spanish gaming site, is our newest translation partner. Here’s their first translated article. Once a few more have gone up, you’ll be able to see them all here. Many thanks to Bastión Rolero for translating our articles into Spanish!

TV Traditions

Recently I’ve been reading articles on the differences between television and film writing. It got me wondering what could be applied to gaming as well. Obviously, there is one major difference between scriptwriting and running a game: as a GM, you can’t plan the ending. Show More Summary

Keeping Things in Perspective

I recently found myself chatting about my RPG glory days when I had little responsibilities and plenty of time to game. Up into high school (I started gaming at 9) it wasn’t unusual for me to play daily. These tended to be short sessions...Show More Summary

We’re Letting You Go

Today’s guest article — on what can be a very awkward topic — is by John Lewis of RPG Alchemy. John’s loved RPGs since the early ’80s and has game mastered dozens of systems over the past few decades. He is one of the founders and authors...Show More Summary

Impartial Arbiter, Friendly Guide, or Deadly Foe?

Recently, I got into an argument. On the internet. Shocking, I know. How could such a thing happen? No one ever argues on the internet! This particular argument stemmed from a discussion on GMing. In another internet group, a friendShow More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Beowulf’s warning: “that sword has a story”

Sometimes listening to a podcast is a little like eavesdropping on a conversation. The topic is so interesting you want to jump in and contribute. So it was when I was listening to a recent installment of “In Our Time” hosted by Melvyn Bragg for BBC4. Show More Summary

Pitching Primetime Adventures: Two recent series

I recently received the new version of Primetime Adventures after backing its kickstarter. It’s an excellent game, with a great deal of useful, clarifying text in the new edition. I’ve played it (and written about it) before, but the new third edition does a good job of adjusting the emphasis to clarify some previously confusing elements. Show More Summary

GM’s Challenge: Use Only One Book

One of my players was recently bemoaning his other game. In that game, the GM spent a lot of time flipping through multiple rulebooks looking for “the answers.” Meanwhile, my friend and the other players sat there not adventuring. One way to avoid this is to limit your options to just a few core rulebooks. Show More Summary

Announcing Gamer Romance Novels

We here at Gnome Stew are excited to announce our newest Engine Publishing project, and a bit of a departure from our regular fare – Gamer Romance Novels! Realizing, at a recent strategy meeting held over G+ hangouts, the untapped crossover...Show More Summary

Gearing Up For a New Game

Last time I talked about the need to learn how to GM the new game you are running. This time, I wanted to look at another aspect of running a new game: GMing Gear. That is, what gear do you need to bring to the table as a GM to run the game? Having the right gear to ease the play of the game is an important component to running a good game. Show More Summary

How Inconvenience Shaped My Style

Recently my wife posted an article on Facebook about how different parenting was when we were kids and now. I’ve seen several similar articles and sentiments in the past, most of which boiled down to “our parents made us play outside...Show More Summary

Barrier to Entry 

When I first started gaming, not quite at the dawn of time but definitely a ways back, I was in awe of Game Masters. Whether or they were good or not was beside the point, they were the masters of the game. They knew the rules backwards...Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Using the Grid for Social Encounters

As I run almost exclusively in the d20 fantasy sphere of games — Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, d20 Modern — one of the tools that gets used often is a combat grid, whether it is a published or dry-erase footmat, HirstArts tiles of my construction or printed cardstock tiles. Show More Summary

Getting your Sea Legs

I recently started running a Night’s Black Agents game, after coming off of running both Fate and Savage Worlds. This was my first time running anything with the Gumshoe system, and I found myself, for the first time in quite some time, having to get use to running a new system. Show More Summary

Dadventures: The Great Owlid Hunt

It’s time for another short adventure. This one has an old-school feel with a lazily named hybrid monster, the owlid (part owl, part squid). It’s a mix of combat and social encounters for your group and is also a classically styled shaggy-dog story, cementing it firmly in dadventure territory. Show More Summary

Abandoned Characters

The real world is a rough place. People move, take new jobs, go back to school, have family or health issues. (And sometimes they get mad at you, or you at them. But let’s not go negative here). When a player leaves your group for whatever reason, there are two effects. Show More Summary

Hot Button: Mechanical Transparency

During my last session one of my players was trying to pick between two powers to use against a foe and, in the process of debating, asked me what he needed to hit. Without thinking I blurted out the number. I was caught off-guard; normally...Show More Summary

Groups emerging from play

I recently completed a few months of public play that went far better than I’d imagined. On Wednesdays last fall, we played D&D Encounters. At my table, I had a drop-in-group of 4 or 5 pretty consistent players, with several more who showed up for a session or two. Show More Summary

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