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RESISTOR – A Zine Full of Games

The roots of tabletop gaming in the early 70s were closely intertwined with community and a do it yourself effort. The first pioneers of the gaming industry created their works with very few of the modern tools that make the job of game developers easier today. Show More Summary

The Mini Dungeon as a Random Encounter

One of the problems in an exploration game is content. We’d all like to put together a campaign world with content jam packed into every nook and cranny, but there are some problems with that. First and foremost is our time constraints. Show More Summary


Over the years I’ve had the privledge of running sessions where most of the players were new to the hobby. In this column, we’ll take a look at some strategies for planning out that first session. The goal in planning such a session is to showcase some of the essential features of the system, while giving them a successful and enjoyable session. Show More Summary

Dungeon Masters Guild and Adventurer’s League changes

5e Public Play: It’s all Adventurer’s League now A couple of weeks ago, Wizards of the Coast announced big changes to its organized play program. All of the adventures are now just Adventurer’s League; before, they’d been split between the new player geared Encounters and the continuing play Expeditions. Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Honey, I’ve Armed the Kids!

High drama. Suspense. Gritty Realism. All great tones to achieve when creating a campaign. Sometimes, though, the group needs a laugh. When delving a dungeon filled with the undead minions of the black-cloaked overlord has become a grind, or the horrors of the apocalyptic landscape hit too close to home — maybe a change of pace is called for. Show More Summary

Garage Sale 2016 Everything Must Go!

It’s time for my yearly garage sale article. Once again, it contains a set of items that your characters might find at a garage sale (or as loot or that might be brought to them by someone else who finds it) each with an adventure hook inside. Show More Summary

Out of the Abyss: A Surprisingly Difficult take on the Underdark for Organized Play

The third D&D encounter season features Out of the Abyss, the newest hardback adventure for D&D. The first three seasons of D&D Encounters took a published product–in this case Out of the Abyss

Troy’s Crock Pot: 5 Monsters to use in 2016

Need a monster to slay your party with in 2016? Try one of these five creatures, gleaned from sourcebooks in my gaming library.  These monsters are a whole different category of menace. They not only want to devour your crew of 10-foot pole-carrying adventurers, they have the means to be the predator in this ecology. Show More Summary


Online games are a lot like old-time radio shows. Clear audio is a must for telling stories. Nice maps and tokens are great, as are all the bells and whistles provided by virtual tabletops (VTT’s). But without clear audio, you can’t have a game. Show More Summary

Driftwood: Saving Games

For my first article of the new year I decided to resurrect one of my old recurring themes; “Driftwood” was about taking a rule from one RPG and applying it to others. This time, though, I’m taking a concept from video games and seeing if I can apply it to tabletop RPGs. Show More Summary

Do It Better

When I talk about my inspirations to be a good Game Master, I’ll often reference the great GMs I’ve had the privilege of playing with over the years. If I’m really honest with myself, though, the bad GMs I’ve had the misfortune to play with are just as strong an influence in my desire to run good games. Show More Summary

Fear Itself

Today’s guest article is by Gnome Stew reader Craig Dedrick, and it’s his third. (See Freedom Through Restraint and What Makes a Good Monster? for his previous two pieces.) Thanks, Craig! — Martin Scare the S#!t out of your Players I am a big fan of horror games. Show More Summary

The Fallacy of the Clean Dungeon Sweep

A common behavior (at least at every table I’ve ever been part of) is the clean dungeon sweep: making sure that every nook and cranny of a dungeon has been explored, every enemy fought and every goblin slain. Players often do this because they don’t want to miss any treasure or experience. Show More Summary


Sometimes you don’t get a quorum. It’s no one’s fault: people get sick or have other real-world obligations (sigh). Still, it’s tough for both players and game masters (GM’s) alike to show up and realize a session isn’t going to run....Show More Summary

Johnny’s Five – New For The New Year

It’s a new year, 2016, and that means it’s a great time to dig in and find something new for your game. The end of the year – with holidays, travel, and multiple obligations – is often tumultuous for a social activity like gaming, but the new year is a time to refresh and rededicate to the hobby in a new way. Show More Summary

Campaign, Interrupted

It’s that time of year again. In these parts, whether or not you celebrate Christmas there is a definite chill in the air when it comes to gaming. As an adult married parent with a job and other responsibilities, I’ve already made adjustments...Show More Summary

Happy holidays from Gnome Stew!

Happy holidays from all of us here at the Stew! Thank you for reading and commenting on our articles. It means a lot to us! Warm wishes, and may your holidays be joyful.

A Non-T-Shirt Donation Method

If you’re interested in donating to help out with the medical expenses, but don’t want a t-shirt, you can use the button below. The funds will go into a special Paypal account used only to help pay for medical expenses....

Help My Dad Fight Cancer, Get an Awesome T-Shirt

In September of 2015, my father found a lump on the side of his neck. A few weeks later, it was confirmed as a cancerous tumor. He’s ready to take on whatever treatments are necessary (and believe me, none of...

Troy’s Crock Pot: Visiting Steffenhold (and free adventure)

Back in April, on my personal Facebook page, I’d posted a photo of a diorama that I’d done years ago detailing the base town of our gaming group’s campaign, Steffenhold. Based on comments from that post, there’s been a request I do more on Steffenhold for Gnome Stew. Show More Summary

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