Author: Don Mappin

About The Author

For nearly 30 years RPGs have been a staple of Don’s life — so that means he’s pretty old. Author of a dozen RPG books, Don has worked with companies such as ICE, Last Unicorn Games, Decipher, and AEG. He now spends his time working in IT management, enjoying his family and two children, or gaming.

7 0 Social and
7 Comments

Your Time Is Now

Experience tends to be the defining metric when discussing whether someone is a good or great GM. That precious commodity that’s measured in years, campaigns, or game systems. It’s also something that gamers new to being behind the screen tend to focus on too much. The reality being that...

Read More
9 Social and
9 Comments

Map This!

Need a spiffy map for you game and are strapped for cash? Want to make it large and visible, but don’t have a plotter at home…or the dough to have your local printshop take care of it for you? Provided you’ve the source art—or access to a community willing...

Read More
8 Social and
8 Comments

Once More Unto the Breach

Having no intention of running a game in 2012, I did not craft an entry for our New Year, New Game event — hopefully you did! — so imagine my surprise walking out of last week’s game discussion with a new campaign to plan. Did I mention it’s based...

Read More
3 Social and
3 Comments

Learning From… Person of Interest

There’s a decent chance you haven’t heard of this CBS drama—recently voted the People’s Choice “Best New…”—so we’re not sure how long it will grace our screens beyond its first season. But the question remains, who will help you if your number comes up? Person of Interest stars Jim...

Read More
5 Social and
5 Comments

NPCs in Full Color

The most common descriptions used to build a memorable NPC focus on their visual appearance, unusual quirks and mannerisms, or perhaps a voice or accent. In a few rare cases other senses, such as smell (seriously, I’ve used this) or…taste. One area that’s seldom used is the color pallet...

Read More
3 Social and
3 Comments

Visualize This!

The character portrait – be it for a PC or NPC – is a time-honored tradition. If you lack any artistic skills technology has fortunately been able to offer an alternative, but these options have historically been expensive and difficult to use. How about a photorealistic option that’s totally free? Read on! Models Not Required While 3D modeling packages have routinely been out of the reach of most of...

Read More
12 Social and
12 Comments

Name That Adventure!

An adventure name gets the blood flowing into the brain, conceptualizing what may come to pass, and helps keep me engaged. Read on for tips on why you may want to consider using — and sharing — adventure names at your gaming table.

Read More
52 Social and
52 Comments

Running Pay-To-Play (Collectible) RPGs

There’s a change on the horizon in an effort to monetize RPGs — in fact they’re already here, albeit in minor form: the collectible RPG. The RPG where players will need to pay-to-play for specific abilities. Collect ‘em all! This paradigm shift brings with it some new considerations when you sit down to run a game at your table.

Read More
4 0 Social and
4 Comments

Learning From… Nikita

It isn’t often that a movie garners a remake/reboot, a five year stint as a television series and is then resurrected—again—as another television series. Plus, I’d wager a fair number of gamers have have thought of the draw of a wrongly-accused killer “repurposed” as a secret, government assassin. I...

Read More
9 Social and
9 Comments

The Guest GM Experience

Recently I was afforded the rare opportunity to slide into the center seat and be a guest GM — or “Narrator” in this case — for our regular Star Trek game. I say “rare” because in my 30 years of gaming, it’s something I’d never done before. It started...

Read More
14 0 Social and
14 Comments

Learning From… Tron: Legacy

Inspiration for our games surrounds us in many forms and traditional media is particularly rich in ideas. These also serve as test beds for what one ought to do or not do in narrative storytelling. In this case, Tron: Legacy has more than a few nuggets we can learn...

Read More
6 0 Social and
6 Comments

Building the Endurance

As part of our holiday-themed entry during the Gnome Stew break, here’s a rundown of building your own Excelsior-class (refit) starship as a Christmas gift and prop for your Star Trek game. What? Doesn’t everyone do this? The building of a 50 year old starship from a 15 year...

Read More
6 Social and
6 Comments

Review: Battle Map iDevice App

The Stew forges on, dragging you kicking and screaming into the digital age, this time with a review of the iPhone/iPad app, Battle Map. Educate yourself on this tool available for GMs willing to take their map-making skills to the “next level” (see what I did there?) and whether...

Read More
8 Social and
8 Comments

GM of A Thousand Faces

One our of intrepid readers, Chando42, posed a suggestion in the Gnome Suggestion Pot that many of us have struggled with over our GMing careers: having good player interaction with our NPCs. Characters that inspire and help drive your adventures versus stale cardboard cutouts that sit there to disseminate...

Read More

What’s Gnome Stew

Written by a team of veteran Gamers and Gamemasters, Gnome Stew is a widely read gaming blog with multiple awards and close to 3,000 articles. We're dedicated to helping gamers have more fun at the gaming table. Over 2 million visitors can't be wrong!

"I check Gnome Stew every day."
— Monte Cook —

"fantastic blog for game masters, dungeon masters, and rpg fans"
— Wil Wheaton —

"If you aren’t reading Gnome Stew, you’re missing out."
— Wolfgang Baur —

Recent Gniblets

Patronize Gnome Stew!

Join our awesome patrons and help
Gnome Stew do awesome things for everyone!

Keep The Stew Fires Going


Eat The Stew

Get Gnome Stew articles delivered to you via email or RSS.

Click here to get our RSS feed Get Gnomes in your email with Feedburner!

Support The Stew

Click one of these links, shop normally, and we earn a small percentage (at no cost to you).

Font Resize
Contrast