- Gnome Stew - https://gnomestew.com -

Farewell, and thank you for eight awesome years

After lengthy, careful consideration, I’m stepping down from running Gnome Stew. This will also likely be my last article here, at least for the time being.

I don’t have the fire in my belly that’s required to run the Stew well anymore, and sticking around without that element isn’t fair to anyone. There’s nothing sinister at play here; I’m just no longer the right person to helm Gnome Stew.

When I told the gnomes, I proposed two options: another gnome takes over, or we put the site in archive mode (still free, but no longer updated). Fortunately, the Stew’s own John Arcadian stepped up to run the joint.

The Stew needs an active, passionate owner, and I’m leaving you in good hands. John has the fire in his belly, he’s full of ideas about where to take the Stew, and I couldn’t be happier that he’s taken over for me. He’s got the support of the rest of the Gnome Stew team, too.

Since 2008, when I started the Stew with a most excellent team of fellow bloggers, I’ve had a kid, changed jobs twice, sold my house, and moved to another state. Which is a roundabout way of saying that the Stew has been a part of my life for a long time.

And I love this place. It’s grown from a simple idea — “Why not see if a bunch of awesome folks want to blog about GMing together?” — back in 2008 to a deep archive of free GMing content supported by a fantastic community of readers. It’s opened doors, garnered awards, launched other ventures, and meant a lot to me and to others. I’m thrilled that it will continue to do those things.

The best part has always been the friends I’ve made and the readers I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with. I’d stand this community up against any other gathering of gamers on the web and be proud of what you’ve done, and what you continue to do.

Frankly, leaving is a bit terrifying. I don’t like attention, but I appreciate recognition. I’ve been working in the RPG industry since 2004, and the single thing I’m best known for is Gnome Stew. Not because it’s “mine” — it is and always has been a fundamentally collaborative venture — but because I’ve run the site, and contributed a ton of content over the years.

As career moves go, leaving Gnome Stew is probably a bad one. But I still think it’s the right thing for the site, the gnomes, and you, our readers.

I may be around from time to time, likely to share Engine Publishing [1] news, but this is the end of my road here at the Stew for now. I need to be George Lucas here: get out of the way and stay out of the way so the creative team behind the site can rock this party.

If you’d like to stay in touch, I’m still writing about gaming on my personal blog, Yore [2], and I’m active on Google+ [3].

Thank you, gnomes and readers, for your friendship, support, encouragement, awesomeness, and the GMing advice you’ve shared over the years. As I always say, you rock on toast.

Martin Ralya, signing off
Seattle, WA



18 Comments (Open | Close)

18 Comments To "Farewell, and thank you for eight awesome years"

#1 Comment By Phil Vecchione On March 21, 2016 @ 6:10 am


I just want to say, thank you. Eight years ago, I was a guy who commented frequently on Treasure Tables, and GMing games for my home group. Then one day, I got an email inviting me to be a Gnome, and that began an amazing adventure and transformation. You introduced me to a cauldron (see what I did there) of great people and writers, and we built a blog. That would be have been cool enough.

Then one day we got an email from you about this idea you had to make a book, and we once again went on a journey together and Eureka was born. Then we were crazy enough to do it again with Masks. That started in me the writing bug. That would have been cool enough.

Then I sent you an email, with this crazy idea for a book on prep, and you said ‘Let’s do this’. And so you guided me on my first solo writing gig, and we made a thing, and people seemed to have dug it. Then we made a few more books together.

This is a long way of saying that I am where I am today as a writer, game designer, and publisher, because you gave me my break. Whether it was some uncanny insight, or I suspect more roll of the dice, you invited me to this group, and guided us, and set in motion a series of events that changed me.

I will miss your articles, a mix of good advice, insights on the struggle of prep and play, and a certain irreverence, that make up your articles. Gnome Stew is now 100% dickbat-less, but we will continue on keeping the stew cooking.

Thank you for rolling those dice and taking a chance on me. Your presence on the ‘Stew will be missed.

#2 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2016 @ 8:12 am

I’m glad I got to play a small role, because opening doors for the gnomes has always been a Gnome Stew goal, but you got where you are because of who you are and your commitment to what you do.

I’m proud to call you my friend, Phil. 🙂

#3 Comment By Rob Abrazado On March 21, 2016 @ 7:38 am

I’m sad to see you go, of course, Martin, but I just as much look forward to the exciting futures of both yourself and the Stew! Your stewardship (heh) of Gnome Stew helped build both an outstanding site and community, and their influence continues to be undeniable and lasting. I’m sure we won’t be strangers, of course, but here I want to wish you a public farewell and note of appreciation. Your dedication to and love for the hobby has always been an inspiration to me. All the best, my friend!

#4 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2016 @ 8:13 am

Thanks, Rob. 🙂

Honestly, it already feels weird!

#5 Comment By Walt Ciechanowski On March 21, 2016 @ 8:30 am

I thanked you in my article, Martin but it’s worth repeating here. Thank you for the amazing opportunities you gave me with Gnome Stew and Engine Publishing and the doors it opened for me.

More importantly, thank you for your friendship over the last eight years. The band may have broken up, but our bond never will.

#6 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2016 @ 8:32 am

Amen, brother. I look forward to working with you again, and to raising a glass as friends next time we’re in the same room. 🙂

#7 Comment By Jim_L On March 21, 2016 @ 9:53 am

Just wanna say thanks for Gnome Stew. I’ve been reading it for a few years, previously on and off, but now quite religiously since the past year. It’s helped me a lot with GMing, and I really enjoy the topics discussed.

Drink’s on me if you ever come to Singapore 🙂

#8 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2016 @ 5:52 pm

Ooh, Singapore! I’d love to make it out there sometime.

Thank you. 🙂

#9 Comment By Roxysteve On March 21, 2016 @ 10:40 am

Martin, I’ve accused you before, but just so you know you caused the following to me:

Savage Worlds. Goodbye cash, goodbye weekends.

Fiasco. Goodbye cash, goodbye self-esteem.

Microscope. Goodbye cash, hello wads of index cards filled with other peoples’ stupid drivel changing up my once-brilliant ideas.

Bundles of Holding. Argh! My pockets are on fire!

Eureka, Masks, Odyssey, Never Unprepared. PDFs owing to no more room on shelves.

I’m torn between thanking you for broadening my horizons and giving you a helpful push out of the door before you can suggest any new game related products.

Be off with you sir, and be well. Great good fortune to you and yours.

May good luck follow you all your days, and occasionally catch you up.

#10 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2016 @ 5:52 pm

Thanks! And happy to “help,” which I’ll continue to do through G+.

#11 Comment By Angela Murray On March 21, 2016 @ 11:43 am

Martin, thank you so much for taking a chance on me as a new Gnome a couple years back. I’m still amazed and grateful for the opportunity that presented. 🙂

#12 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2016 @ 5:54 pm

It didn’t feel like taking a chance, and you’ve rocked the house. I hope you continue digging your work here for years to come. 🙂

#13 Comment By Craig On March 21, 2016 @ 1:00 pm

Your professionalism and excellence seep into every crack of this site, which has been an absolute pleasure for me to read for many years now. Thank you for all of your hard work and talent!

#14 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2016 @ 5:54 pm

Like an ooze! I love the visual. 😉

You’re most welcome, and thank YOU!

#15 Comment By Scott Martin On March 21, 2016 @ 1:07 pm

Like Angela said, thanks taking a chance on me when I was a frequent commenter back at Treasure Tables.

Thank you for the platform to share crazy ideas, theories of prep, odd tools, and reports from my campaigns and those around me. It was great experience to try to articulate–both to me and readers–some of the things that make me love roleplaying. Thank you for a great run altogether!

#16 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 21, 2016 @ 5:55 pm

You wrote many of my all-time favorite Stew articles, Scott — I couldn’t be happier to have worked with you. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to see each other again at a con sometime down the road!

#17 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On March 24, 2016 @ 9:37 am

Shane: I gotta be going on.
Joey: Why, Shane?
Shane: A man has to be what he is, Joey. Can’t break the mould. I tried it and it didn’t work for me.
Joey: We want you, Shane.
Shane: Joey, there’s no living with… with a killing. There’s no going back from one. Right or wrong, it’s a brand. A brand sticks. There’s no going back. Now you run on home to your mother, and tell her… tell her everything’s all right. And there aren’t any more guns in the valley.
Joey: Shane…
[Joey notices that Shane is wounded]
Joey: It’s bloody! You’re hurt!
Shane: [Shane starts to stroke Joey’s hair ] I’m all right, Joey. You go home to your mother and father and grow up to be strong and straight. And, Joey… take care of them, both of them.
Joey: Yes, Shane.
[Shane rides off]

#18 Comment By Martin Ralya On March 24, 2016 @ 5:51 pm

If I remember my lone viewing of Shane, probably around 25-30 years ago, this is the part where the kid just says “Shane!” over and over at high volume, right? 😉

#19 Pingback By MartinRalya.com & Yore On November 20, 2018 @ 8:20 am

[…] of today, I’m no longer running or contributing to Gnome Stew. There’s no drama or bad blood, it was just time for me to stop, and fortunately the […]