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Gnome Rodeos are our regular link roundups. Provided everyone doesn’t simultaneously stop talking about GMing for a week, you should see one here most Fridays.

GMing Regulars

→ Musings of the Chatty DM: The Seven Habits of Great GMs is short, to the point and right up my alley.

→ Dungeon Mastering: Waffling about buying the 4e GM’s screen? Let Yax’s review convince you. Here’s number one with a bullet for me: It’s hardcover, the way all screens should be.

→ Roleplaying Tips: You can now generate one-sentence NPCs (mostly fantasy) at the click of a button — or download the entire PDF of 700+ one-sentence characters. These all came from the joint RPT/Musings contest awhile back, and it’s nice to see them compiled in one place.

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→ Worldbuilding 101: Organizations gives you a simple framework (suitable for any RPG) for defining your campaign’s organizations, power groups and the like in game mechanical terms. I love stuff like this. (Via RPG Bloggers Network.)

→ Over on Pen and Paper Portal, Coop summarizes PAX 08’s twelve things any DM can do to improve their campaign. Good points all around, and I want to try this: “Don’t spend months or days creating a campaign, instead write a 3-10 page document detailing the world and give it to the players before the first session.” (Via RPG Bloggers Network.)

→ I’m one of those people who actually reads the introductions to books, and it’s for the same reason that I love RPGs that include the designers’ notes: I like knowing the philosophy behind something I’m about to devote hours/months/years of my life to playing. This WotC Design & Development article on the Forgotten Realms sheds a lot of light on why the 4e FRCS (reviewed here on the Stew) is the way it is. (Via EN World.)

→ Robin Laws pimps Axe Initiative’s Raiders Guild, a fantasy campaign meta-structure that does this: “In a nutshell, Raiders Guild provides an ongoing campaign framework DMs can import into any setting, published or homebrew. It describes a heroic organization of dungeon delvers for the PCs to belong to, and a set of enemies–the corrupt, tyrannical, information-stealing Archivists–for them to fight against.” The adventures themselves don’t look interesting to me, but the Raiders Guild concept sounds very useful. I hope they publish a guide for that independent of the actual adventures.

→ At Will, a blog I discovered via the RPG Bloggers Network, offers up a nifty article about getting any session started smoothly — and with a bang by asking your players questions. Not, “So…you guys remember what happened last session?” — much cooler than that.

→ Jeff Rients does some grognard detective work and identifies the source of the heraldry on the shield that appears on the cover of the 1e AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide: a ring worn by Gary Gygax. It’s a super-charming story.

→ In my last Gnome Rodeo, I mentioned that the absence of print editions of Dragon and Dungeon has left a gap that other publishers are rushing to fill — well, The Geek Gazette has compiled a great list of gaming magazines. Very handy! (Via RPG Bloggers Network.)

PS: This was a big week for the Stew — we crossed the 1,000 RSS/email subscriber line last weekend, and hit 500 registered members during the week. Thank you to everyone who has subscribed, signed up, commented and just plain kept reading!