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Tips For Starting Prep

For starters, take these tips with a grain of salt. First, different approaches to productivity work for different people. Second, I have to be the world’s worst person at parking my butt and getting prep done. These are all things I have tried with varying degrees of success, but I am certainly not the world’s […]

Playing Characters Gamers Hate

  There is one thing I can say on the internet in game spaces that I know will garner immediate eye rolls and groans of “oh, you’re one of those players.” All I have to say is, “I play kender.” Visions of spotlight hogging, thieving, obnoxious, self absorbed players dance into everyone’s minds like sugar […]

Which Game Changed the Way You Play?

If you’re out and about on social media with a preponderance of RPG loving friends, you may have seen the #RPGaDay thing that’s been going around for the month of August. I’ve been putting them up each day on my Facebook and it’s been sparking some interesting discussion. It’s especially fun to see friends that […]

Social Anxiety at Large Conventions

  It’s August 8th, 2017 and Gen Con is about a week away. I’m going through all of my pre-Gen Con rituals – planning for the Gnome Stew dinner at St. Elmo’s and the ENnies immediately afterwards, getting the books and materials for the games I’m running compacted into better traveling boxes, setting up the […]

How To Make Death Matter

 Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: a character dies. Maybe the dice weren’t in their favor, maybe they made a tactical error, maybe they grabbed that glowing skull even though it was so completely obvious it was an evil relic, oh my god, it could not have been more obvious if you’d lit […]

Gnomecast #20 – Continuity

  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. This episode we have Senda, Chris, & Ang talking about continuity in games.  

Alls Well That Ends Well?

One of my long RPG love affairs is the well. I don’t know what exactly sparked it—a video game, a novel, an RPG adventure—but wells fascinate me. No RPG village is complete without one and every one holds a secret (well, that would get old and boring after a time, so most hold only water […]

Making a Thing: Prioritizing What Matters

Have you ever been working on something, anything, and you get a brilliant flash of insight? Something hits you, out of the blue, and your mind starts racing. You’ve got ideas, plans, you know just how to implement everything...... and it has nothing at all to do with what […]

Design Flow: Campaign Playtesting

One of the great joys and challenges of game design is playtesting. On one hand, seeing your creation doing what it is supposed to—and people enjoying it—is incredibly uplifting. On the other hand, watching your perfect mechanic break under play can be heartbreaking. Despite the emotional roller coaster, having people that are not you playing […]

Gnomecast #19 – Gnomes, Kids, & RPGs

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. This episode we have John, JT, Matt, & Ang talking about gaming with kids.

Simple Tricks – Using Google To Blow Your Players’ Minds

While over at the house of my friend and fellow game writer and gnome, Tracy Barnett, I recently found my eyes wandering to his map of “haunted” locations in Ohio. He had picked up the map as a resource so that he could travel to different locations near him as weekend trips and see different […]

Bennies For Notecards

I’m trying something new. As a GM, I like it when players come up with small contributions to the game. Players like bennies. So I’ve designed and printed out a handful of 3×5 index cards that players can fill out to get bennies. Each one has a template for a new NPC, location, monster or […]

Troy’s Crock Pot: Adding some magical touches

We play fantasy rpgs because we love magic interwoven in our adventures. Wizards casting spells, sly bards with their enchantments, priests with their miraculous cures — all of it spurs our imagination into believing we are playing in a realm fantastic and weird. [Now, my next assertion is a bit of a generalization, and like […]

GMing in Crunch Time

There Are Many Articles Like It. This One is Mine. It’s been, shall we say, a bit of a rough day. Nothing serious is wrong, but my partner and I spent some time in the ER very early this morning, starting at 3am. This afternoon, the Head Gnome (John Arcadian) reminds me that I have a […]

A Spreadsheet for Writers to Track Story Submissions

I was talking to a writer friend a little while ago, and said writer friend mentioned not having an organized way to track short stories and what publications they’d been submitted to. I was aghast. Here’s the solution I use,...

IN THEORY: Approaches to Social Interactions

Social interactions are what separate roleplaying games (rpg’s) from most other types of games. For example, how often do you talk in character in Monopoly or checkers? However social interactions often have more gray area than other skill tests. For example, it’s easy to determine the results of a CLIMB roll. Either you make it, […]

Interviews from the Loop

Frequent Guest Poster Keith Garrett has been getting into Tales From The Loop recently, and he’s been writing about it on his blog. He decided to doff a red hat and swing over with some of his articles about this awesome looking game.  Check out his interviews with some of the creators below. – Nostalgic […]

How to Build a Custom GM Screen

There are plenty of advice articles out there (much of it here on Gnome Stew) about how to learn a new system without having someone teach it to you. If you’re attempting a high level of system mastery from a book or box set, there are several things you can do. Skim the books, followed […]

Gnomecast #18 – Camp Adventures

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. This episode we have Tracy & Ang talking about Camp Adventures. Making a Thing: Camp Adventures Part 1 Part 2 […]

Genius Loci

The genius loci is a concept most people are familiar with from fiction: a spirit or intelligence of an area. It can be seen in enchanted forests, in haunted houses, in the rogue smart building. Putting a genius loci in a location in your game can be an interesting element to play with. In some […]

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