Author: Kurt "Telas" Schneider

About The Author

Kurt Schneider played D&D in 1979 at summer camp, and was hooked. He lives with his wife, daughters, and dog in Austin TX, where he writes stuff, and tries to stay get fit. Look for his rants under the nom de web Telas or TelasTX. Quote: “A game is only as balanced – or as good – as the GM.”

Fare Thee Well

In which a Gnome departs, and is probably a bit overly-dramatic about the whole thing. Sometimes, you need to see physical evidence of something that has been under the surface the whole time before you recognize it. When Martin asked me to find my three favorite articles for the...

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11 Social and

Reality Check

“I reject your reality, and substitute my own.” – Paul Bradford, The Dungeonmaster (later quoted by Mythbuster Adam Savage) Matt’s recent article on reality got me thinking. We game masters define or at least direct the collective reality of our gaming group; defining the rules of magic or super-science...

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11 Social and

Who Are You Trying to Impress?

Two quick stories: My wife watches a fair amount of "redecorating television," and I’ll admit to being sucked into a show or two. One of the recurring plots of this type of show involves designers who do not listen to the clients. Instead, they often decorate to impress other...

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7 0 Social and

GM as Limited Slip Differential

The puzzle really shouldn’t be that difficult. They have all the clues. Heck, you saw them write them down. The players are all veteran problem-solvers. Your spouse figured it out during a commercial break. (Your kid was even faster, but don’t tell your spouse.) But there they are, nearly...

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4 Social and

Honeymoon Savings Bank

If you’re anything like me, your enthusiasm level for a campaign follows a pretty predictable path. The campaign is born around a concept that really grabs you. It blossoms into full-blown excitement for a few months, during which the ideas are popping up like weeds in the springtime, and...

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20 0 Social and

Salvaging a Campaign

Run a campaign for long enough, and one of these will happen: Your players will ignore every subtle (and not-so-subtle) hint you throw at them, and do That One Thing that will tank the entire campaign. For whatever reason, the party swallows the Blue Pill, lets the Ringwraiths get...

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9 0 Social and

Modern Games, Modern Tools

Running a modern game has been far easier than I expected because of a number of modern tools. Most of these are digital, but convert quite well to my archaic retro “index card” style of GMing. An exhaustive list would be near endless, but here are most of my go-to tools. Resources The modern online lifestyle puts an amazing amount of information at one’s fingertips. And since game prep...

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12 0 Social and

Going Abroad

Or, A Funny Thing Happened At the Border This is the first Gnome Stew article written and posted entirely from a foreign country, while I’m on vacation. In honor of that occasion, and of the “no problems” attitude of the Caribbean, I’ll try to make it useful but lighthearted....

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6 Social and

The Taxman Goeth

Once again, it’s time for everyone between the ages of five and eighteen to get ready to go back to school. It’s also time to stock up on gaming supplies, thanks to the back to school sales and tax-free weekends across the country. (If you’re not stateside, my apologies...

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15 0 Social and

Big Assed Dice

I like big dice and I cannot lie You other GMs can’t deny That when an attack rolls up at a critical place,  And that 20’s in their face, You get sprung… With my most sincere apologies to Sir Mix-A-Lot, I like big dice when I’m GMing. No, not...

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6 Social and

They Can’t See the Wires

…and even if they can, they’ll just ignore them. Have you ever watched a movie while it’s being made, especially one laden with special effects? It looks nothing like the finished product, even though you’re watching the raw material. Actors and actresses look badass as they go through their...

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24 0 Social and

Reality vs. Genre

Have you ever had your knowledge of reality interfere with your acceptance of genre conventions? Gamers are usually pretty nerdy, and tend to know quite a bit about gamer-ish topics, sometimes down to a very granular level. RPGs usually emulate genres better than they emulate reality. A GM’s detailed...

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4 0 Social and

Would You Like to Phone a Friend?

Or, The Saga of UFO Joe Situation Skipping as much of the stereotypical “in my campaign” braggadocio as possible, I had an unusual NPC in my 1980s monster hunter campaign. He would regularly call in to Art Bell’s “Coast to Coast AM” radio show under different names, but always...

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9 Social and

In Defense of Published Adventures

DNAPhil has covered the disadvantages and downsides of published adventures in a separate article. I do not wholly disagree with his assessment; it’s one Gnome’s valid opinion. But more than one of us felt that a counterpoint article should be written, and my compulsion to volunteer led me here,...

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