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Running a Solo Game GM-less

Tell me if you’ve heard this one: It’s Thursday night and you want to play a game. But everyone in the party is across town, and it takes too long to set up, so they’d need to leave half an hour into actually playing. So you look over at your significant other, and they want […]

The Elements of a Good One-Shot

I’m doing things a tad bit backwards here. This week’s GnomeCast was Matt, JT and myself rambling about the elements of a good one-shot game. It was a hastily thrown together episode due to how busy I’ve been, but Matt jumped in and did some research on the Stew’s archives and noted that, other than […]

Fate Adversary Toolkit Review

I’m going to admit something right up front. I’m cheating with this review. I’m running a Dresden Accelerated game, and reading through this book is allowing me to review it, as well as potentially steal things for my campaign. Does that make me a bad person? My love of the Dresden Files is what led […]

Always Give Your Players A Receipt

  “The sword of duquesne gets stolen by the naked man…” Community did an excellent episode where they played Dungeons and Dragons, and it was advanced! One of the things that has always struck me about that episode was the part where the character Neil’s sword gets stolen out of spite by another player. […]

31 Days of Nightmares 2017 — Mimic

Guillermo del Toro co-wrote and directed this 90s monster movie starring Mira Sorvino. Of course, del Toro has gone on to become a modern monster master, so it’s interesting to go back and see some of his earlier work. Mimic...

31 Days of Nightmares 2017 — Clown

Nothing like a pair of excellent monster movies to keep the Halloween feeling flowing. One is from the director of Spiderman: Homecoming, the other from the great Guillermo del Toro (see next post). Clown [source: Netflix], directed by Jon Watts,...

Treasure Map Alternatives

One of the most time honored adventure hooks is the treasure map. Essentially they exist to get characters from point A to point B, maybe with a little adventure in the middle. Here are some alternatives to the basic treasure map that serve the same purpose. The Compass: An enchanted compass that always points to […]

31 Days of Nightmares 2017 — Shutter and Shutter

Wait, am I reviewing the same movie twice? Well, yeah. The last two nights I watched Shutter, a 2004 Thai movie, and Shutter, the 2008 American remake. The original is a solid if unexceptional horror movie. It fits right in...

31 Days of Nightmares — 2017 Edition — mother!

It’s a (nearly) yearly tradition, in which I watch a horror movie every night in October and review all of them. Most years things are pretty busy in October and I don’t get to all 31, but this year…well, this...

Troy’s Crock Pot: Q and A with Frank Mentzer about Worlds of Empyrea

Frank Mentzer, gamer and game designer who started working at TSR in 1980, has launched a Kickstarter for a new game setting: Worlds of Empyrea.  Here is the Q&A we did discussing this new project and his thoughts about the OSR. Q. Let’s start with the title itself: “Worlds of Empyrea.”  Not the kingdom of […]

Design Flow: UI and Neighbors

For the past few months, I have been wrestling with this small but annoying problem in the Hydro Hacker playbooks. It is a section of the playbook that defines your relationships with the other players. When I run this at conventions or in playtest groups, players always fill the section out incorrectly. Over several iterations […]

Diners, Dungeons, & Dives – How to Make Campaign Frames

A few weeks back a buddy of mine mentioned on Twitter that he’d like to play an RPG where you travel around, eat weird food, and record it all for a reality show—not unlike Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. This was right up my alley, so we started riffing on it. Two days later, I’d written up […]

Pugmire Review

I like to put my biases up front, for all to see. Going into this review, you need to know that I love my dog. Even when he wakes me up at two in the morning to go outside, or because he’s barking at the squirrels that are running along the outside of the house. […]

H&FotSOR#19 – Carl “Black Powder” Bussler

On this episode Hobbs is joined by Carl “Black Powder” Bussler. They talk Well of Souls, Black Powder Black Magic, and weird west gaming. Enjoy the show and let Jason know how we’re doing in the comments below or email us at

Why Do I Review?

The following originally appeared on my blog, back in August, during the “RPG a Day” event. One of the prompts for that event was to mention where you go for your RPG reviews. I noticed a lot of chatter on that day about the validity of reviewing RPGs, and the way it should be approached. […]

The Buzz About The Giant Bee

Bees. Bees have an interesting place in our world today. Not exactly domesticated, they are still an incredibly important resource for agriculture, pollinating billions of dollars of crops annually, and the source of an amazing food product. Let me tell you a story about one of my characters from years back. The character themselves was […]

The Long Con

No we’re not talking about heists or con artists, but Long Convention Games. So let’s answer the first obvious question – what is a Long Con? From what I’ve been able to gather from talking to multiple people, it is a convention game that lasts multiple sessions. I’ve found three to be typical, but I […]

Gnomecast #24 – Are They Having Fun Yet

  Welcome to the Gnomecast, the Gnome Stew’s tabletop gaming advice podcast. Here we talk with the other gnomes about gaming things to avoid becoming part of the stew. So I guess we’d better be good. This episode we have Ang, Chris, & J.T talking about reading the table and experiences they’ve had where a player […]

Players as Characters

If someone plays RPGs long enough, the thought of “What if I were a character in a game?” will inevitably pop into the brain. Most people shy away from this idea for fear of the introspection or the fact that they must be themselves 99% of the time and want to use role playing as […]

Troy’s Crock Pot: Immersed in the Jungle

Grab a vine and give a mighty Tarzan yell. Dungeons and Dragons is going to the jungle. Tomb of Annihilation, the brand’s next adventure storyline is slated to be released Sept. 19. After the announcement in May, I’ve been stoked about this development. Roleplaying in the jungle hits one of my sweet spots. Since then, […]

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