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What’s Up with Robot Viking?

Robot Viking is no longer an active gaming blog. It was hacked. The hack is fixed. As a result of that, however, the old theme is gone, hence the generic “beach” theme. Hey, robots like the beach too. I’ll fix it up at some point. The old articles and comments will remain intact, however comments … Continue reading ?

Gaming Challenge: Race and Sex in Historical Games

We recently had a chance to play an interesting scenario, set in an interesting time. We played a Deadlands: Noir scenario set in 1935 New Orleans. We’re a group that has played together for years, though our Savage Worlds experience isn’t extensive. Show More Summary

NPC Trio: Three Divine Misfits For Your Game

Here are three themed NPCs for use in your game. Though they could be tweaked for any genre, they can be dropped directly into a supers or modern fantastic game. Their theme is flawed divine power. Often, divine heroes are portrayed as beautiful and righteous. Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Draw a card, any card

As far as random generators go, here’s an oldie but a goody worth revisiting. GMs run the gamut when it comes to their appreciation for compiling random encounter charts. For some, it’s an hour well-spent, a selection of monsters and NPC’s that fits perfectly with the next adventure you plan on running. Show More Summary

Judging the Pacing

Let’s talk about pacing. It’s a subject that’s come up before here on the Stew for very good reason. You can check out some of the previous articles on the subject here, here, and heck, just do a search for ‘pacing’. From the numberShow More Summary

All Hail The Rainmaker

Running a game is a two-way interaction between players and GM. When the table is in sync, the game develops smoothly. There are times though when things fall out of sync and the game starts to slow down, eventually grinding to a halt. Show More Summary

THE ONLINE TABLETOP: Non-Traditional Maps

While gamers love traditional, dungeon-type maps, they are certainly not the only possible graphics options.  Background images, area maps, and player handouts can enhance any gaming experience.  Online virtual tabletops (VTT’s) make including these types of images easier than ever. Show More Summary

I Was an Origins Virgin

This year I decided to try the Origins Game Fair. For years I’d contemplated going, as it is actually a bit closer to me than Gen Con (almost negligible flight-wise) and I’ve heard great things about it. Conversely, I’d also heard it was in decline, so in any event I was eager to compare it to Gen Con. Show More Summary

Today is the final day to preorder Unframed: The Art of Improvisation for Game Masters

“I think of myself as an experienced and veteran GM, but this book had new, exciting, and most importantly useful things to teach me.” — Age of Ravens review“Twenty three short essays from twenty three exceptional Game Masters and creators...Show More Summary

Improv Toolkit

You are not as creative as you think you are, and less so when you are under pressure. Our brains are great at pattern matching, but not as great for storage. So the things we tend to remember are the things that get frequently used, while obscure concepts are forgotten. Show More Summary

Minor Characterization: It’s your birthday…

As a GM, you have a lot of characters with serious issues to explore–both yours and the players. Sometimes, though, it’s the small questions that reveal characterization–and reveal more about the world you’re building. One of the most common celebrations in our world is birthdays. Show More Summary

Building Dungeons with Pathological Monsters

You would have to ask an expert (which I am not) to get a better understanding, but to my knowledge there are two general classes of fractals.  The first (the type seen below) is a graph of a set of complex numbers. The most well known of these is the Mandelbrot set, whose mathematical equation is: zn+1 = zn2 + c where z is a complex number. Show More Summary

Hot Button – Run or Play?

The discussion on how much we GMs should play instead of run has been a bit of a hot topic here at Gnome Stew. John F. just did an article discussing the many good reasons for GMs to make sure to occasionally sit on the other side of...Show More Summary

Exiles of the Wicked Maze

Recently we published an article by John Fredricks about how, as a GM, you should play now and again. This article has more or less the same gist. John’s point was that playing under another GM would help you perfect your technique.Show More Summary

THE ONLINE TABLETOP: Using Traditional Maps

Online, virtual tabletops (VTT’s) now allow more people to game than ever before.  Regardless of geography, or work and family commitments, it’s possible for almost everyone to find a game that fits their needs.  This article is the first in a series examining different aspects of being an online GM. Show More Summary

Five Tips for Writing a Players’ Guide to Your Campaign World

Gnome Stew reader Max sent us this article request, and it piqued my interest (thanks, Max!): Hi there. I’ve been an avid Gnome Stew reader for some time now. You guys have a lot of excellent advice and suggestions that have been infinity useful in my gaming. Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Where Everyone Knows Your Name

A tavern is more than a name or its bill of fare. It’s the folk inside. They’re the ones who belly up to the bar, order a round, risk all in a game of chance, grouse over a mug, join in a group song, do a little business, try to steal a kiss, concoct a scheme, agitate the rabble, debate politics, or seek refuge from the world’s troubles. Show More Summary

But We Don’t Want to Learn a New System!

With her year-long Pathfinder campaign finally wrapping, Gemma couldn’t wait to get started on her next campaign. “What an awesome finale!” she said excitedly. “Starting next week we’re starting a new campaign. I’ve decided to run Shadows...Show More Summary

Johnny’s Five – Five Things I Learned To Incorporate Into Games Because I Moved

As is often the case, inspiration for my articles comes from things that happen in real life. The latest event in my life was a cross country move from Oxford, Mississippi to Columbus, Ohio. It was stressful, compacted into a few days, and throughout the whole thing I kept imagining myself in different situations to keep up motivation. Show More Summary

The Other Side of the Screen: GM’s Should Play More

Many gamemasters run games for months or even years without ever sitting on the other side of the screen.  Often the reasons are logistical.  Players are happy as players and with the GM.  Players may also be too busy to GM.  Also, if you are trying to build a group with new players or using a new system, you may have to GM. Show More Summary

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