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Pitching Primetime Adventures: Two recent series

I recently received the new version of Primetime Adventures after backing its kickstarter. It’s an excellent game, with a great deal of useful, clarifying text in the new edition. I’ve played it (and written about it) before, but the new third edition does a good job of adjusting the emphasis to clarify some previously confusing elements. Show More Summary

GM’s Challenge: Use Only One Book

One of my players was recently bemoaning his other game. In that game, the GM spent a lot of time flipping through multiple rulebooks looking for “the answers.” Meanwhile, my friend and the other players sat there not adventuring. One way to avoid this is to limit your options to just a few core rulebooks. Show More Summary

Announcing Gamer Romance Novels

We here at Gnome Stew are excited to announce our newest Engine Publishing project, and a bit of a departure from our regular fare – Gamer Romance Novels! Realizing, at a recent strategy meeting held over G+ hangouts, the untapped crossover...Show More Summary

Gearing Up For a New Game

Last time I talked about the need to learn how to GM the new game you are running. This time, I wanted to look at another aspect of running a new game: GMing Gear. That is, what gear do you need to bring to the table as a GM to run the game? Having the right gear to ease the play of the game is an important component to running a good game. Show More Summary

How Inconvenience Shaped My Style

Recently my wife posted an article on Facebook about how different parenting was when we were kids and now. I’ve seen several similar articles and sentiments in the past, most of which boiled down to “our parents made us play outside...Show More Summary

Barrier to Entry 

When I first started gaming, not quite at the dawn of time but definitely a ways back, I was in awe of Game Masters. Whether or they were good or not was beside the point, they were the masters of the game. They knew the rules backwards...Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Using the Grid for Social Encounters

As I run almost exclusively in the d20 fantasy sphere of games — Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, d20 Modern — one of the tools that gets used often is a combat grid, whether it is a published or dry-erase footmat, HirstArts tiles of my construction or printed cardstock tiles. Show More Summary

Getting your Sea Legs

I recently started running a Night’s Black Agents game, after coming off of running both Fate and Savage Worlds. This was my first time running anything with the Gumshoe system, and I found myself, for the first time in quite some time, having to get use to running a new system. Show More Summary

Dadventures: The Great Owlid Hunt

It’s time for another short adventure. This one has an old-school feel with a lazily named hybrid monster, the owlid (part owl, part squid). It’s a mix of combat and social encounters for your group and is also a classically styled shaggy-dog story, cementing it firmly in dadventure territory. Show More Summary

Abandoned Characters

The real world is a rough place. People move, take new jobs, go back to school, have family or health issues. (And sometimes they get mad at you, or you at them. But let’s not go negative here). When a player leaves your group for whatever reason, there are two effects. Show More Summary

Hot Button: Mechanical Transparency

During my last session one of my players was trying to pick between two powers to use against a foe and, in the process of debating, asked me what he needed to hit. Without thinking I blurted out the number. I was caught off-guard; normally...Show More Summary

Groups emerging from play

I recently completed a few months of public play that went far better than I’d imagined. On Wednesdays last fall, we played D&D Encounters. At my table, I had a drop-in-group of 4 or 5 pretty consistent players, with several more who showed up for a session or two. Show More Summary

Canon vs. Original

Many of the games we play are set in worlds created specifically for those games (or universal enough for player created worlds), but there are plenty of games out there designed to immerse your players in a setting from movies, television, books, comics, and so on. Show More Summary

Some Lessons from a Noob GM

Today’s guest article is by Gnome Stew reader Garrison Benson, and it’s about something every GM is familiar with: figuring out how to GM, what works for you, and what doesn’t. Thanks, Garrison! –Martin Most folks get into role-playing through friends and family. Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Characters for a Thematic Game

Depending on the experience level of the players gathered around your game table, one thing to keep in mind is that the array of class, race and faction choices available to them can be overwhelming — paralyzing, even.   Even in a standard...Show More Summary

You … save??… a tavern??

A few weeks back, in my itinerant internet wanderings, I came across an interesting video where a steampunk tavern is attacked by some undead cowboys and then saved by a few of the customers and a native american warrior.  The violent, cgi driven, epic, and gratuitous music video gave rise to an interesting twist on getting a party together. Show More Summary

Cave Adventures: My First Attempt at Game Design

I recently came across some old PDFs while organizing and backing up some of my files. One of them was the complete rules to Cave Adventures, a role playing game I co-authored back in 1990 with Dave, my best friend for a large part of my childhood. Show More Summary

Wiping the Slate Clean

There are two ways to approach a campaign: open-ended or finite. Some groups go on for years and years with the same characters. Others end and reboot with new, lower level characters. This finite option can be traumatic for players....Show More Summary

Even Villains Make Mistakes

Do you let your villains make mistakes? Whenever I design an adventure I often create flawed villains with exploitable weaknesses. This way, I have something for an inquisitive player character to uncover and use against her, or I have a few flawed personality traits that I can work into her encounter with the PCs. Show More Summary

Off-Label Gaming

It’s rare that anyone plays a game exactly as written. In some cases, we don’t understand the rules, or misinterpret what the designer wrote. Sometimes, there are parts of the rules that don’t align with our tastes and so we change or omit them. Show More Summary

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