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Getting Comfortable With Uncertainty

I just recently started a Night’s Black Agents campaign and while prepping for my first session, I found that what I prepped was far less than I normally would write out. When I looked at what I was leaving out, I saw that it was all the contingency material; all the “if they do this, then this happens”. Show More Summary

A Trip Through RPG History With Designers And Dragons

I was not around for the beginnings of the game industry. I can look at the Red Box D&D set on my gaming shelves and know that I only have it because I acquired it from a friend who acquired it from an ex-girlfriend’s father. It sits next to my D&D Rules Cyclopedia, which I picked up a few years after first publication from a used book store. Show More Summary

Specific vs Amorphous Adjectives

Today I’d like to talk about adjectives. In case English class is an old forgotten or deeply repressed memory for you, a reminder: adjectives are those words that describe other words, specifically they describe things. In some cases they describe other adjectives but that doesn’t interest us here today. Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: “Five Room” Raid on the Bacchanal

In the spirit of “you can never have enough five-room dungeon posts,” here’s a 5-step mini-quest using the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. For reference, check out these past posts by myself and Matthew J. Neagley on the utility and craft behind the five-room dungeon. Show More Summary

Three Approaches to Challenge Levels

Designing exciting combat encounters is an important skill for most GM’s. We want to make sure we challenge the party without overwhelming them. In this article, we’ll look at three ways to choose the appropriate number and level of opponents for an encounter. Show More Summary

Fifth Edition D&D, a few months in

D&D’s fifth edition has released all of its core pieces; a standalone starter set, the core three books (a Player’s Handbook, a Monster Manual, and a Dungeon Master’s Guide), a GM’s screen, and some adventures (Hoard of the Dragon Queen and its sequel, The Rise of Tiamat). Show More Summary

Inspired by Ant-Man – Honey I Shrunk The PCs

You’ve probably seen the recent Ant-Man teaser that released at a miniature size.     It was followed by a full sized trailer that showed off more of the overlooked superhero. Seeing the trailers recently reminded me of one experience...Show More Summary

The Con Game

Now that it’s a new year, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming convention season. Okay, first off let’s just agree to ignore the fact that my ‘con season’ covers most of the year, going from the end of January (Running GAGG,...Show More Summary

A New Sort of Garage Sale 2015

For the past six years, every January I’ve run a garage sale article. I’m loathe to give up a six year tradition, but response has been hit or miss and, to be honest, it’s gotten harder and harder to scrape a handful of campaigns out of my notebook for the article. Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: A Taste of the Supernatural

Incorporating elements of the supernatural into my games has never been a strength of mine. I have to make a conscious effort to dip into that well. In most of the fantasy-style games I run, there are enough flesh and blood beasts, demons and devils to keep adventurers busy. Show More Summary

On Theaters and Minds

In 1938 Orson Welles scared America with his “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast. Many people panicked, thinking Martians were indeed invading the earth. Radio is often called “theater of the mind,” and Welles was a master of the medium. Show More Summary

Don’t Be Clever

We GM’s are a creative bunch, coming up with all sorts of plots and challenges for our players, session after session. There are times when we get a bit carried away, and think up a brilliant idea; something that the players will never...Show More Summary

New Year’s Reflections

New Year’s Day is usually seen as a time of resolutions, where we promise to do some things differently than we have in the past. As gamers, it’s also an opportunity for resolutions. Maybe we’ll finally try the FATE system for the first...Show More Summary

Three Sinister Santas for Your Holiday Game

We here at the stew have a complicated relationship with the big man in red. Sure, he’s a fantastic guy who selflessly brings presents to every child in the world in a single night, but on the other hand, it sure would be nice if everyone in the world’s list of their favorite fat bearded men with red hats didn’t start with Santa. Show More Summary

Stop Rolling All those Dice!

Today’s guest article is by Gnome Stew reader Michael, a DM with approximately 35 years of experience with roleplaying games, administrator of a D&D 5th edition community page, and a regular writer at Tribality.com. Thanks, Michael!Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Make Those Monsters Legendary, Again

Veteran game masters might fall into the trap of viewing every monster in terms of its hit dice and combat capabilities. It’s too easy to just plug in a monster that matches the requisite challenge rating, call for initiative, and play on. Show More Summary

NewYearNewGame.com Archive

In 2012 and 2013, we ran a New Year, New Game, a contest for GMs with a simple mission: To inspire game masters to run at least one new game each year, because trying new games broadens your horizons, challenges your skills as a GM, and can deepen your enjoyment of gaming as a hobby. Show More Summary

The Art Book Campaign

I recently picked up The Art of Ian Miller, a gorgeous book jam-packed with illustrations by one of my favorite fantasy artists. I picked it up not only because I love Ian’s artwork and I’ll enjoy having the book in my collection, but...Show More Summary

The Real Issues With Encounter Balance

This past week, I was listening to the new and excellent podcast, Gaming & BS. The episode was about Game Balance, and the hosts, Sean and Brett, had an interesting discussion about Encounter Balance in RPGs. Their discussion was solid, but as they were talking I realized that Encounter Balance is not the root issue. Show More Summary

Dungeon Crawl: Adding More Roleplaying

Dungeon crawls are a staple of roleplaying. For this article, let’s expand the definition of dungeon beyond traditional tombs and caves. Crashed spaceships, inner-city sewers, and post-apocalyptic abandoned malls are all really variations on the dungeon. Show More Summary

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