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Review And Giveaway — Mortzengersturm,The Mad Manticore Of The Prismatic Peak

So you’ve read that title, you’ve seen the sixties-riffic art, and you’re curious about what exactly this thing is. That was how The Hydra Cooperative hooked me when they sent us a request to do a review of their 5e adventure Mortzengersturm,The Mad Manticore Of The Prismatic Peak. I’m going to pick apart this quirky […]

Gnomecast #15 – The Power of No

  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. Today we have Phil, and myself, Ang, and we’re going to discuss Phil’s recent article, The Power of No. Links […]

Kickstarter Spotlight: Cortex Prime

I’ve been lucky enough to know Cam Banks for about six years, now. In fact, the first time I mat Cam, I interviewed him about the then-brand-new Leverage RPG. I had no idea what I was doing, but he was kind enough to talk to me. Fast-forward to now and Cam is Kickstarting a brand-new, […]

Setting that moral compass

In the early part of running a campaign, it can be a useful exercise to take the temperature, so to speak, of the player characters’ moral compass. I know a lot of games have that familiar spot on their character sheet for “alignment.” Players will often declare, as their character is introduced, where they land […]

The Power of No

One of the worst pieces of GMing advice I ever gave myself was to always make sure the players were happy, even over my own happiness; to avoid saying No. This ridiculous piece of advice has lead to more campaign deaths in my career as a GM than I should admit. The thing is that […]

Five Fantasy Forest Features

I was recently kicking around a game set in a deep forest. While it didn’t pan out, I did manage to salvage a few set pieces that can be dropped into your game as landmarks or adventure sites. The Spire: A massive petrified tree standing over the rest of the treetops. Hollow on the inside, […]

IN THEORY: WHEN NOT TO RESTART

In a previous column, we looked at some reasons why you might want to restart with a new campaign. Maybe players have maxed out their characters, met all their goals, or maybe you just need a fresh start as a gamemaster (GM). However, there may be times when you may want to restart, but probably […]

Making Connections

I made a thing and want to share it with you, but let’s talk about character relationships first. One of the things I love about RPGs are the small stories that pop up between characters amidst the larger story of a game. Back in the day, this type of thing often happened organically over the […]

Gnomecast #14 – Drop Maps

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. Today we have Matt, and myself, Ang, and we’re going to discuss Matt’s recent article, Extrema Drop Map. Links Extrema Drop […]

World Building

While at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference a few weekends ago, I took a half-day class on world building. The class was taught by Del Rey editor Mike Braff and fantasy novelist Kevin Hearne. I’ve taught my own world building classes in the past, but I wanted to see their take on things to see […]

Making a Thing – Camp Adventure, Part 1

I’ve had an idea banging around in my brain for a while and I thought I might let it out. When I’m writing things, I like to talk about them while they’re in progress. It helps me do a couple of things that writing by myself doesn’t accomplish. When I write just for myself, things […]

Staring With A Split Party

Splitting the party is associated with tactical nightmares and GM headaches, but it can actually be a fantastic way to start a big campaign for a group that really enjoys role-playing. Used properly, it can create a dynamic player experience and increase the verisimilitude of your campaign. Starting with split parties means dividing players into […]

Extrema Drop Map

In math terms an extrema, the plural of extremum, are the high and low points (either locally or globally) of a function. This translates into maps as the high and low points of various features. Elevation is an obvious application, but they can also denote any number of other things. The procedure to make an […]

IN THEORY: WHEN TO RESTART

Most campaigns have a finite lifespan. At some point you’ll either wrap it up with a finale, fade into something else, or real life factors will stop it. It’s a sad duty to end a campaign. However, it offers a chance to grow as you start your next one. In this article, we’ll look at […]

Design Flow: Teaching Setting

The last few weeks I have been working on writing the setting of Hydro Hacker Operatives. For an RPG with a defined setting, this is an important task. You need to be able to teach the setting to the GM and the players, so that they can share in the world you created, and give […]

Gnomecast #13 – Texting in Character

  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. Today we have John, Matt, and myself, Ang. Today the topic at hand is Texting in Character, a guest […]

Why You Should Donate To A Library Or Community Gaming Program

Today’s guest article is a joint venture of Gnome-In-Chief John Arcadian and Lori Caskey-Sigety of the Middlebury, Indiana library. Lori reached out to us about the possibility of donating to their gaming program, so we donated some books and some miniatures to the program, then we pulled Lori into helping us write an article about […]

Gnome Spotlight: Lawful Good Gaming

Welcome to Gnome Spotlight – an article series celebrating gamers doing good in the world, both within the realm of gaming and outside of it. The idea for Gnome Spotlight came from posts by Shanna Germain, senior designer and co-founder of Monte Cook Games, who was on the hunt for a curation of games, artists, and companies doing […]

When You Realize You’re the Problem

Over my time here at the Stew, I’ve written different articles that talk about problem players and ways to handle them. Problem players (and, let’s be honest, GMs) are the type of thing you can run into when you play with a wide variety of people, but it can also occur at your own table. […]

Troy’s Crock Pot: Board games for your RPG

Put those board games in your closet to work in your RPG. Sometimes a quick board game can resolve situations in an RPG. Probably the best example of this as a fully realized game mechanic is Dread, which uses a Jenga tower to resolve a character’s fate in that game of suspense. But other games […]

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