An archive of all of the articles I’ve written for Gnome Stew.

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Copyright In Gaming - The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

You may have heard about the recent court decision over the card game Bang! and a clone of it called Legends of the Three Kingdoms. At issue was the fact that, while thematically different, Legends of the Three Kingdoms was, rules and character…

When Your Game Doesn't Mean Anything

When I think back about the games that have been the least fun for me as a player, it's always when there is no meaning to my actions – when it feels like I have no real effect on anything or when the story I'm engaging with has a pre-defined…

Throw A Bounty Board At Your Players (Not Literally)

  Life happenings caused two of my players to miss a session. We moved on with the rest of the group, but the main plot mission had them interacting with a big player in the world and being teleported to another location far far away.…

The New Gnome Stew Site

So, uh, hey, we've got a new site up. After the cowardly attack by Kobolds who hacked our site on the very first day of April this year (evidence archived here and the ensuing twitter war and retaliation hack here, here, and here), we went…

You Got Technology In My Fantasy Setting

Technology and fantasy settings don't often mix well. The highest level of technology in most fantasy settings is highly uncommon and unstable gunpowder weapons. High tech in a fantasy world would cause some very distinct world changes. In…

Welcome to Gnome Stew, the Gaming Blog, Part II

Hello, and welcome to Gnome Stew, part II. If you read Martin's farewell and explanation article here, then you know what's going on, but if you haven't here's the short version (short is all we've got around here, being Gnomes y'know) — After…

Stealing when you should have been buying...

  Recently, Lance, a friend of mine asked me a GMing advice question about something that came up in his Silvervine game. A high fantasy setting with lots of magic and tech, airships are a common way to travel in the world, but are very…

Back To The Future For GM's Day

Great Scott! It's International GM's Day again! To celebrate, Gnome Stew decided we'd steal a time machine or two — those doctors are fine, right? — and use them to go back in time and tell our past selves some good GMing advice we had yet…

A Teen Library Gaming Program In Action

A few months back I wrote a review of Dragons in the Stacks, a book by Steven Torres-Roman and Cason E. Snow about running teen gaming programs in libraries. I've long been a fan of libraries as spaces for the community, and having worked in…

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…

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…

Johnny's Five – Getting The Most Out Of Fear And Wonder

Many stories have elements that defy description, moments that push characters outside their boundaries and take them into a place of the unknown. What is it that makes ghost stories and mysteries truly scary and interesting? What makes an awe-inspiring…