Author: Phil Vecchione

About The Author

A gamer for 30 years, Phil cut his teeth on Moldvay D&D and has tried to run everything else since then. He has had the fortune to be gaming with the same group for almost 20 years. When not blogging or writing RPG books, Phil is a husband, father, and project manager. More about Phil.

15 Social and
15 Comments

Why That Stupid Rule Might Not Be So Stupid

When I am not writing here, I am the co-host of the Misdirected Mark podcast. On our last episode, my co-host challenged me to do a segment talking about how encumbrance is an interesting mechanic. I laughed, because I don’t think I have ever used encumbrance in any of...

Read More
5 Social and
5 Comments

Getting Comfortable With Uncertainty

I just recently started a Night’s Black Agents campaign and while prepping for my first session, I found that what I prepped was far less than I normally would write out. When I looked at what I was leaving out, I saw that it was all the contingency material; all...

Read More
15 Social and
15 Comments

Don’t Be Clever

We GM’s are a creative bunch, coming up with all sorts of plots and challenges for our players, session after session. There are times when we get a bit carried away, and think up a brilliant idea; something that the players will never think of, something so incredible that...

Read More
12 0 Social and
12 Comments

The Real Issues With Encounter Balance

This past week, I was listening to the new and excellent podcast, Gaming & BS. The episode was about Game Balance, and the hosts, Sean and Brett, had an interesting discussion about Encounter Balance in RPGs. Their discussion was solid, but as they were talking I realized that Encounter...

Read More
3 0 Social and
3 Comments

The Duality of Fiction and the Game

One of the benefits about co-hosting an RPG Podcast and owning a small RPG company is that I get to talk a great deal about RPG’s with a lot of great gamers and game designers. One of those discussions has been about two facets of an RPG: the game and the...

Read More
3 0 Social and
3 Comments

Three Leaders At The Table

Over the past few months, I have become interested in the topic of Leadership. As a project manager, leadership comprises a large part of what I do each day as I work with various project teams. As I began to study the area of leadership, I came to realize...

Read More
2 Social and
2 Comments

Be Our Guest

Recently I went to a Project Management conference and sat in on a great session about how Disney creates their customer experience for their customers. While taking notes for things I need to bring back to my office, I realized that creating an enjoyable experience is one of the...

Read More
7 Social and
7 Comments

Why You Also Need To Be A Player

One thing I hear frequently from my fellow GM’s is that they are always a game master and never a player. Allow me to drag out my soapbox and say that if all you ever do is GM then you are doing yourself a large disservice. You are, in...

Read More
4 0 Social and
4 Comments

DIY GM Screen For Better Play

In thinking more about last week’s piece on mise-en-place, I realized there was one more thing that I often do for the games that I run, that involves setting up a specific space for maximum effect: creating my GM Screen for the game. I don’t buy pre-made screens, rather...

Read More
13 0 Social and
13 Comments

Put In Place Your GMing Space

This past week I was at Gen Con, and ran a few sessions of my fantasy world, Elhal. Convention games are always tricky, and something that we have talked about many times here on the Stew. This time around, I ran the same session of Elhal in both Fate...

Read More
11 0 Social and
11 Comments

A Return To Prep-Lite

I was running out of time to prep my games. Sounds almost ironic from the guy who wrote Never Unprepared, but it was true. Things have changed in my life, and my ability to prep was straining against my dwindling free time. I had maximized the usage of my...

Read More
3 Social and
3 Comments

The Repositioning Session

Your group has just completed a major story arc. They have been down in the depths of the Dungeon of Ultimate Sorrows for weeks. You are ready to start off the next delve, into the Tower of Unimaginable Anguish, but are your players ready, and more importantly are their...

Read More
7 Social and
7 Comments

All Hail The Rainmaker

Running a game is a two-way interaction between players and GM. When the table is in sync, the game develops smoothly. There are times though when things fall out of sync and the game starts to slow down, eventually grinding to a halt. As the GM you try to...

Read More
6 0 Social and
6 Comments

Improv Toolkit

You are not as creative as you think you are, and less so when you are under pressure. Our brains are great at pattern matching, but not as great for storage. So the things we tend to remember are the things that get frequently used, while obscure concepts are...

Read More
4 0 Social and
4 Comments

Tick Tock – The Countdown Mechanic

Building actual tension at a table is not an easy task. GM’s often go to great lengths to create a dramatic tension through the use of lighting or music, only to have jokes about Monty Python undermined our well crafted narrative. Through my many years of gaming, one method...

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