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Troy’s Crock Pot: NPCs, meet me in St. Louis

In school, I opted for music and film appreciation, leaving my studies of art when the crayons got put away after the third grade. My loss, because art appreciation is a wonderful spur for the imagination. Still, it’s never too late to learn. Show More Summary

When Your Players Are Smarter Than You

We GMs are a pretty intelligent lot. Anyone who can handle juggling the world building, the story prep, the mechanics, and all of the NPCs while keeping players coming regularly back for more is probably at least a semi-smart person....Show More Summary

Who Is Ed?

Ed Grabianowski is an author and freelance writer based in Buffalo, NY. He’s worked as a contributing writer for io9 and HowStuffWorks, and his work has appeared in a number of publications including David Wellington’s Fear Project.

Welcome Back to Robot Viking!

Hi everyone. The Robot Viking can never die, it merely waits. For longtime readers, most of the old gaming posts will not be coming back — we’re starting fresh! There will be new gaming posts, movie reviews, and information about...

GMing Dead Games

I recently had the opportunity to obtain a copy of the Ghostbusters II RPG, by West End Games. This game has been out of print for over 25 years (cough, cough), and I had not seen a copy of the game, nor run it, in the same amount of time. Show More Summary

An Apocalyptic Question

On a whim, I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road this past weekend. I cannot adequately express my fan girl glee at this movie without descending into nonsense and Kermit flailing. OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH! The cars, the costumes, the explosions, the CHASE. Show More Summary

A Home Base for the Ethereal Plane

I was doing some prep recently (gasp no!) so I figured I’d share. Here is a base located on the ethereal plane for your high magic adventures. Reasonably close to the center of the bizarre geometry of the planes, the city of Media is a large trading center and rest stop for dimensional travelers of all sorts. Show More Summary


Players love to go off the map. That’s one thing that separates traditional roleplaying games from computer games, the ability to try anything. In a face to face setting, there are a number of ways to handle players going “off map.”Show More Summary

Taking the First Step

It can be difficult to switch over, to cross the table and GM for the first time. Long ago, I wrote Introductory Games for New Roleplayers for a young GM and a table of all new players. This time we’re looking at a different situation—training new GMs who may be nervous about running for tables of experienced players and strangers. Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Distilling Published Adventures

Published adventures are more abundant and accessible than ever before. The depth, range and quality of the material is as strong as ever, too. That increases the likelihood of GMs incorporating published adventures into their games....Show More Summary

Johnny’s Five – Mixed Messages

One of the biggest problems I’ve ever seen plague any game is miscommunication between the Game Master and the players. The game master will say: “You throw the door open and see the footprints in the ever-deepening snow. The flakesShow More Summary

How Do You Stay Interested During a Long Break?

Here’s my dirty little GMing secret – I burn out quickly. I launch into a new campaign with great enthusiasm, boning up on the period and genre, purchasing all the supplementary material I can get my hands on, crafting a world, and putting an epic campaign into place. Show More Summary

What to do When Your Dice Often Misbehave

So you’ll often read online or hear during RPG discussions that someone’s dice were “misbehaving”, by which they usually mean they had a long string of low (usually, but sometimes high) numbers. It’s also regularly used as a reason why...Show More Summary

Hot Button – Brief or Eloquent

The shopkeeper’s green tunic clashes oddly with his blue alien skin. The 6 strange nostrils on the top of his head are flaring wildly, a gesture of greeting for his people. As you eye over his wares, he moves his large bulky body over to you, causing some of the racks to slide out of the way. Show More Summary


If you’re like me, you pack too much stuff for your face to face games. Oh, we all try to bring just the essentials, but then we still throw in extra stuff, “just in case.” I know a GM who uses a rolling luggage carrier for all their rulebooks. Show More Summary

A Lesson Relearned: Time Management

A good smack in the nose can teach a valuable lesson, but sometimes the lesson fades. Last weekend, I got another smack on the nose. I let time management get away from me. The result was an unproductively long session, even though there were good elements. Show More Summary

Another Take on GMing Types

We spend a lot of time talking about different types of players and the best way to GM for them. But what about GM’s? Do GM’s have types? Most certainly we do. In my years of doing panels and playing games at conventions, and hanging out with all sort of GMs, I have seen certain types. Show More Summary

Fair or Foul: Learning the Hard Way?

During my last session of D&D, metagaming reared its ugly head again. My players were attacked by a couple of black dragons, and one of my players briefed the others on what tactics to use and what kind of breath weapon this particular...Show More Summary

A Bandoleer of Bangs

I’m currently the producer for a pair of Primetime Adventures shows. Each show has completed its pilot; now we’re on to the first season. To get there, though, requires very different preparation from my usual. Setting Scenes in Primetime...Show More Summary

Regarding the Smartphone

Ask GMs about their pet peeves when it comes to player behavior and one of the first subjects to come up will be the dreaded smartphone. The modern cell phone, whether you’re an i-devotee or an android enthusiast, is a modern marvel of technology. Show More Summary

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