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A Crossover Collision

Every year, I pour over the Origins event list to pick out the perfect combination of events to play. Well, at least that’s the goal. It’s actually a mix of equal parts careful choice and sheer luck, but it usually works out pretty okay. This year, I somehow signed up for back-to-back games that, based […]

Troy’s Crock Pot: Take it outside, kiddos

Ahhh, the great outdoors. It’s a great place to host a roleplaying game. A little camping, a little gaming, what’s not to love? The woods. The ticks. The blistering sunburn. The blood-sucking mosquitoes. The thieving raccoons. The dead humid air on a 90-degree day. Nothing like leaving the cozy confines of the proverbial parent’s basement […]

To Absalom, and Beyond: Interviewing James L. Sutter about Starfinder

A few weeks ago, Paizo announced it was making a new game: STARFINDER. With an exciting science fantasy setting, an OGL license, crunch building on the Pathfinder system, and a great team spearheading the effort, Starfinder looks likely to please plenty of Pathfinder veterans and new converts alike. However, we won’t be able to get our grubby hands on […]

A Sampling of RPG Podcasts

Today’s guest article comes from Keith Garrett, an avid Gnome Stew reader, oft times guest article contributor, and he has now outed himself as a podcast listener. If you like podcasts, check out the Gnome Adjacent podcasts – Misdirected Mark (Chris, Phil, Bob), She’s a Super Geek (Senda), and Talking Games (Send and Phil). […]

The GM’s Agenda and Principles

I’m in a position I’m sure anyone who has run a game has been in before: my group is probably going to move on from the Deadlands Fate game that I’ve been working on. And honestly? I’m fine with that. Since I started that Deadlands game, I’ve found that I have a strong preference for […]

Origins 2016: Year of the #tableselfie

So that happened. Origins 2016 has come and gone and I’m still coming down off my gaming high. From Wednesday to Sunday, my life revolved around roleplaying games, general geekery, and the many, many friends I’ve made over the years through gaming. While GenCon is the gorilla of gaming conventions, Origins is still a pretty […]

Twitch, Tabletop RPG’s, & Online Viewing – Winter’s Edge

Today’s guest article comes from Gnomish Spymaster Jonathan Sirico and covers technological gaming on youtube, twitch and other venues. – Quintuple Agent John In twenty five plus years I have been on both sides of the screen numerous times for various systems. Like many of you, I struggle with the life/work/gaming balance and recently had […]

Permission To Fail

I know a local artist who says “I thrive on failure.” He’s accepted the fact that every drawing and painting won’t work out as expected, that failed attempts are just part of the process. Similarly to grow as gamemasters (GM’s), we need to give ourselves permission to fail from time to time. Trying new games, […]

Three Unconventional Sages For Your Game

Knowledge can be a valuable commodity in RPGs. While sometimes PCs stumble on useful knowledge and want to unload what they know, more often the roles are reversed and they need to hunt down someone with specialized knowledge. While there are sages and experts aplenty in your average setting, here are three more unusual information […]

The BBC Method of Story Arcing: Part 1

If you’re an American you’re probably accustomed to monster of the week, crime of the week, whatever of the week, kinds of storytelling in our long form TV dramas. For those of us who are a little older we are used to the Chris Carter method of the X-Files, a number of one off episodes […]

They Want to Watch the World Burn

What do you do when a player at the table deliberately subverts the stated goals of the other players? Or when that player does things simply to mess with the GM? What do you do with a player that acts like they want to be there and play the game, but when they’re actually in […]

I Hate Making Maps!

Today’s guest article is by the awesome Craig Dedrick, who handed off the task of making maps to his players and wrote about the experience. Hum the Indiana Jones theme song in your head as you read. – Cartographer John   In general, one of the things that I take great delight in as a […]

Troy’s Crock Pot: Tracking that Spotlight time

One way to ensure spotlight time for the players around your table is to write it into the adventure. This encounter favors a cleric, this one a rogue, this one a fighter, et cetera, et cetera. All well and good if the adventure is exploration, say of a dungeon, and as GM, you’ve devised encounters […]

Copyright In Gaming – The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

You may have heard about the recent court decision over the card game Bang! and a clone of it called Legends of the Three Kingdoms. At issue was the fact that, while thematically different, Legends of the Three Kingdoms was,rules and character ability wise, almost exactly the same as Bang!. The court decision ruled in favor […]


“There’s no board” is a common concern raised by those who’ve never played roleplaying games (RPG). While many gamemasters (GM’s) use terrain, maps, and tiles, there generally isn’t one board like in traditional games. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be: many “Almost RPG’s” like Dungeon and Heroquest use boards quite well. In this article, […]

The Four Encyclopedias of Daniel Cohen

When I was a youngster, one of my favorite books to borrow from my school library was “Monsters Giants and Little Men from Mars” by Daniel Cohen. It features an exposition of all sorts of cryptozoological topics such as the titular monsters (loch ness etc…) giants (the Cardiff giants) and little men from mars (MIBs) plus many others. It’s […]

Deadlands to Fate – The Thrill of Skills

The first test of my conversion of Deadlands Reloaded to the Fate rules set went really well, better than I expected. I had hoped that the rules changes would be able to keep the feel of Deadlands while giving my group a set of mechanics that we were more comfortable with. If you want a […]

Passing Notes In Class

While the players around the table are generally on the same side and trying to cooperate to accomplish a common goal, there are times when secretive or contentious actions need to take place between the characters. There are a few reasons for this, and when done properly, these secret notes can add some spice to […]

An Olfactory Review of Adventure Scents

Adventure Scents provided us with samples of scent packets to review their Adventure Scents product. Angela Murray wrote up a review and took incredible images for those without video, while Matt Neagley, Darcy Ross, and John Arcadian took part in a reaction video.   Angela’s Review I’m a firm believer in the power certain smells […]

It’s Your World Too

Today’s guest article on worldbuilding is by Patrick Regan. Take a trip through the process of collaborative worldbuilding and check it out! – Journeyman John The image most people have of GM’s is of a man with a screen, a private set of dice, and a notebook or binder full of scribbled notes, maps, and […]

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